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Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers inspiring words during LoveLoud Fest

Celebrities and familiar faces ranging from Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Apple Inc.’s chief executive Tim Cook to Mary Lambert and Tegan Quin (of Tegan & Sara) to professional dancers Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars) and Benji Schwimmer (So You Think You Can Dance, season two winner) were among many others who performed or appeared at the LoveLoud Festival on Saturday.

“I stand before you tonight as an uncle, a sports nut, a CEO, a lover of the beautiful Utah outdoors, and a proud gay American,” the out head of Apple told the cheering, sold-out crowd of over 30,000 Saturday at the Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.

“My heart breaks when I see kids struggling to conform to a society or a family that doesn’t accept them, struggling to be what someone else thinks is normal,” Cook continued. “Let me tell you, normal might just be the worst word ever created. You’re not all supposed to be the same, feel the same, or think the same, and there is nothing wrong with you.”

The festival reached its fundraising goal of $1M for youth suicide prevention.

Asheville, N.C.’s LGBT community is among ‘the cool crowd’ of this ‘best-kept secret’ destination

If Asheville isn’t the best-kept secret in North Carolina, then it’s certainly one of the best-kept secrets in the United States, reports Reader’s Digest. Tucked between the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains, this Bohemian community gives more high-profile places like Portland, Ore., and Brooklyn a run for their money. Dubbed “the Land of the Sky,” this highly walkable city appeals to creatives of all kinds, entrepreneurs, and the LGBTQ community. It also has a storied history (it influenced the novel You Can’t Go Home Again), an organic food scene, and a reputation for some of the most delicious beer in the country.

Who it’s for: The cool crowd

First active athlete of a service academy comes out gay

Bradley Kim, a defensive back at the Air Force Academy located near Colorado Springs. Colo., announced Friday that he is gay. Kim, who shared his story on his Instagram account and through an interview with OutSports, is the first active player at a service academy to publicly come out.

Before going public with his story, Kim, a safety for the Falcons, informed his fellow defensive backs and received a standing ovation in response. Per OutSports, Kim had previously come out to his parents and various other Air Force teammates and coaches, all to responses of complete support.

“I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people will think and letting it affect what I do in my daily life,” he told OutSports. “And I’m kind of done with that. It doesn’t affect my ability to play football. It doesn’t affect my ability to serve my country…

“The biggest reason I want to share this is to be able to reach people who are in similar situations struggling with the same things I have struggled with. I want to be that example for kids that you can be gay, you can pursue your dreams, and you can have an athletic career. I want to be there for people who don’t feel like they have anyone there for them because I was that kid growing up in high school.”

Photo | Tim Cook, courtesy of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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