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Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay'

Oct. 30, 2014 - , Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Thursday that he is gay, making him one of the most high-profile business leaders to come out. 

"I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," Cook wrote in an essay published in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The 53-year-old Cook, who has remained private about his sexuality, was ranked by Out magazine at the top of their "Power 50" list in 2011. Gawker has called him "the most powerful gay man in Silicon Valley."

"I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," he added. "So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

Cook grew up in Robertsdale, Alabama. He has worked at IBM and Compaq before joining Apple in 1998. He has been running the company since Steve Jobs took a medical leave in 2011.

Recently, Cook criticized his home state of Alabama for its lack of progress on LGBT rights, including marriage equality.

"Part of social progress is understating that a person is not defined only by one's sexuality, race or gender," wrote Cook. "I'm an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sport fanatic and many other things."  

Workplace Equality Index founder applauds Tim Cook's statement

"Tim Cook's eloquent statement reinforces what we call the 'return on equality.' His character and truthfulness are traits that tend to shape corporate performance, especially among equality-minded corporations like Apple. Put simply, Cook's example mirrors Apple's own commitment to global equality," said John Roberts, a partner at Denver Investments and founder of the Workplace Equality Index.

Roberts also noted that Apple is among the 164 U.S. companies that appear in the Workplace Equality Index, an innovative stock market benchmark that educates investors about the performance of corporate leaders in LGBT equality.

Legendary Northalsted Halloween Parade returns Friday
Oct. 30, 2014 - , Get your freak on as the legendary Halloween Parade on Northalsted returns this Friday with a night of live acts, curiosities, costume contests and, of course, a parade – all with a "Freak Show" theme inspired by "American Horror Story." 

"The Freak Show theme will be on display all along the route with a variety of performers engaging the crowd," parade co-chair David Sikora told ChicagoPride.com. 

Contortionists to aerialists and every sideshow worthy curiosity in-between will be along North Halsted St. from Belmont to Addison throughout the night from 6-9 p.m. CircuitMom is scheduled to be at the Red Bull truck beginning at 6 p.m. 

Since this year's parade falls on a Friday, Sikora said organizers expect the "biggest and best parade yet." He added, "We encourage costume contest participants to arrive early to register and enjoy the entertainment." 

Free registration to walk and be seen in the parade, or enter the costume contest, is from 5:30-7 p.m. near Halsted and Belmont. The costume contest includes five categories: Drag, Group, Original, Pet and Scariest. Costume winners receive prize packages valued at more than $2,000.00 including certificates to local businesses and overnight getaways

The costume contest will kick off the freaky festivities at Halsted and Belmont where finalists and winners will be chosen prior to the 8 p.m. parade start. The parade will then travel north along Halsted before finishing at Addison.

Spectators and participants are encouraged to keep the party going long into the night after the parade by visiting the haunts along North Halsted St. in Boystown.

Now in its 18th year, The Northalsted Halloween Parade draws thousands of participants and spectators to the Lakeview neighborhood. The annual event is sponsored by the Northalsted Business Alliance, the same group behind Pride Fest and Market Days, and Triangle Neighbors.

Calendar: Halloween happenings in and out of Boystown

Related: Halloween costume ideas from Fantasy Costumes 

Steven Moore, director of NGPA, killed as plane crashes in Colorado
Oct. 28, 2014 - , Steven Moore, the Executive Director of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), was killed Monday when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed after taking off from Boulder Municipal Airport.

"It is with greatest sadness that we must announce the loss of a treasured member of our NGPA family," Scott Shatzer, NGPA chairman, said in a statement released on Facebook. "Our Executive Director, and valiant crusader for the NGPA cause, Steven Moore, passed away this morning while flying his beloved Mooney in Colorado. Steven, we love you, we will miss you, and we will be forever indebted to you for all of the passion you put into your work with NGPA."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, which took place around 7:40 a.m. An NTSB official said the plane was a Mooney M20E.

A resident of Westminster, Colo., Moore, 35, was from Crown Point, Ind. He moved to Colorado about two years ago after living in Chicago, where he nurtured many close friendships. 

"It didn't matter if he was thousands of miles away, you would always be his friend," said Tommy Holl, who knew Moore when he moved to Chicago from Texas. "You can be friends with everyone, but Steven truly connected with everyone. He lived his life with such honesty and integrity."  

Moore was employed as a First Officer for ExpressJet, a regional airline that operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express.

He is survived by his fiancé, Nathan Samek, 29.

The NGPA is sending a letter in which the group writes "we love you, we will miss you," reminding members of Moore's passion for ensuring all feel welcome in aviation.

"He left this earth tragically doing something he loved," said Holl. "He had a passion for everything he did. That's why he'll never be forgotten."

Friends and colleagues have established a Steven Moore Memorial Page on Facebook. 

Related: PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Steven Moore dies (Windy City Times)

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