Steve Jobs was a married man and had four children at the time of his death, but some still have questions about whether Steve Jobs was gay. Although Steve Jobs never came out as straight to the public, he was a fervent advocate for LGBTQ rights at Apple, and he was close friends with a gay man early in his professional career with Atari.
Part of this confusion about Steve Jobs being gay took place in 2014 when a memorial of Jobs was forcibly taken down in Russia. At that time, Tim Cook, friend of Steve Jobs and current Apple CEO, came out as gay to the public. In response, this caused a Steve Jobs memorial to be taken down in Russia, according to L.A. Times.
Adding to this negative situation, the Steve Jobs iPhone statue on the St. Petersburg University campus was put in place by a company called ZEFS, but Tim Cook coming out as gay was not welcome by this company.
When ZEFS took down the Steve Jobs statue, they said it was because it could now be seen as “gay propaganda” and Tim Cook’s open gay lifestyle violated “Russian federal law on the protection of children from information that promotes the denial of traditional family values.”
What is also true is that Steve Jobs was openly pro-LGBT, and often worked for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. About Steve Jobs’ work as a gay rights champion, Network World reported that Jobs was frequently at the forefront of promoting LGBT equality — even when it did not make him or Apple very popular.
Adding to this, Apple was one of the first companies to give equal health benefits to all employees and their partners, and Steve Jobs liked to share that fact with the media.
From interviews, it is clear that Steve Jobs also had positive relationships with gay men early in his career before Apple while working at Atari. According to Towleroad, Steve Jobs became friends with Ron Wayne around 1974, and Wayne decided to come out to Jobs.
When Ron Wayne revealed he had something important to tell him, Steve Jobs stated, “Yeah, I think I know what it is. I think you like men.” Steve Jobs would later credit Ron Wayne as his first gay encounter and stated that Wayne “planted the right perspective of it for me.”
Although Ron Wayne had not come out to many people at that time, he spoke highly of Steve Jobs as if he had a feeling he would be a trusted gay ally before coming out to Jobs. About the coming out event with Steve Jobs, Ron Wayne stated, “I guess it just felt right to tell him, that he would understand, and it didn’t have any effect on our relationship.”
Also adding to the idea that Steve Jobs is not gay, his ex-lover, Chrisann Brennan, wrote a tell-all called The Bite in the Apple about their life together starting in 1972. While the former lover was scathing about the terrible way he treated her when he was younger, she did not say Steve Jobs was gay in her book, according to Daily Mail.
Steve Jobs also had very close friendships to gay men such as current Apple CEO Tim Cook. According to Fast Company, the friendship between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook was related to their positions of power at Apple, but in the last two years of his life, Tim visited Steve everyday.
In another example that describes their closeness, in the week before Steve Jobs died in October 2011, Tim Cook visited him for the sole purpose of sitting and watching the movie Remember the Titans at Jobs’ request. As a best friend, Tim Cook found that odd because Steve Jobs did not even like sports, and the movie was about football.
Obviously, Tim Cook felt supported by Steve Jobs and the rest of Apple, but the reason he did not come out as gay until 2014 was explained by Billboard in 2015. In short, Tim Cook felt he was a private person, but by being silent and not being publicly open about his homosexuality, he was not being a helpful role model to other gay kids getting bullied for their sexual orientation.
At that time, Tim Cook also revealed to Stephen Colbert, “[Steve Jobs] was a joy to work with and I love him and I miss him every day.”
Steve Jobs made enough impression on Tim Cook as a gay ally that Tim quoted Steve Jobs when the Marriage Equality Act was signed in late June 2015. At that time, Tim Cook quoted Steve Jobs’ stating the following.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, it was also the end of a struggle as Steve Jobs made sure that Apple was an open and proud part of helping repeal California’s anti-gay marriage act in California called Prop 8. Around 2008, Steve Jobs and Apple took initiative to contact other businesses to join them in openly opposing any restrictions on gay marriage.
Steve Jobs never came out to the public as gay, straight, bisexual, or another sexual orientation, but he was often defined by his marriage to Laurene Powell. In his relationship with Laurene Powell, Steve Jobs had three children including Reed, Erin, and Eve. Steve Jobs also had a previous relationship with Chrisann Brennan, and they had a daughter together named Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]