Inclusivity and Diversity
Despite these two accounts and many other microaggressions that she has had to deal with as a transwoman, Melai Lopez has the support of her family. “I have a supportive family,” she recounts. “It took them some time. But when they saw me after working some time that I was able to take care of myself and that being a transwoman was not hindering me from becoming successful in my career, they became very supportive.”
She understood that they were coming from a place of love. She explains, “Because that was their only worry; that I wasn’t going to get a career that could sustain me if I was presenting myself as a woman to the world. It was definitely coming from a place of love. They were worried for me about being bullied or for my career.”
But they had nothing to worry about. She had years of experience which led to an impressive resume that she wanted to diversify. She said that the BPO industry was just a small branch of the project manager field and she wanted to add the IT industry into her portfolio.
So she set her sights on Google. “It was the most work I’ve put in for an interview,” she recalls. In April of 2019, she entered the tech giant as the project manager of the Network Deployment Team.
She notes that her team is composed of engineers. “They are all men,” she says. “Even my boss is male and his boss is male.” Even in the male-dominated tech industry, Melai is quick to note that she felt comfortable and welcomed in the Google Team.
“When I joined my team,” she continues, “my manager told me that before I joined he made the rest of my team join the SOGIE training. He wanted to make sure that everyone was comfortable and everyone would treat me with respect. The funny thing is he was called out by his own manager because his manager said that he wasn’t supposed to out me to my team in that way.”
This is what they mean by safe spaces. For Melai, she’s found a home where her gender identity is not a hurdle or a challenge but merely part and parcel of her whole being, which includes a serious work ethic and an advocacy for inclusivity.
She is part of Pride@Google, an internal organization within the company that raises awareness and offers training to empower each other and foster a sense of security and comfort. Pride@Google is one of the many employee resource groups in the company as there’s one for any marginalized group working there.