Pride Month Employee Spotlight: Joe Morris
To celebrate Pride Month in June, Zynga is highlighting employees from our LGBTQIA2S+ community who are championing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. We embrace the history, struggles and achievements the LGBTQIA2S+ community has made in advancing equal rights, and are proud to support a culture where everyone can be their authentic selves. Join us as we ask our incredible employees to share what it means to #PlayWithPride.
Today we’re spotlighting Joe Morris, Principal Systems Engineer at Zynga. Read on to learn more about Joe, what Pride means to him and how he believes finding common ground can empower people to open up.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is about enabling all people to freely express themselves without discrimination or judgment whether they’re expressing joy or sorrow in their lives.
When was the moment you knew? The moment that everything sort of crystallized?
I was reading posts to newsgroups and email lists about gay people coming out. While many of these stories express success in revealing their secrets, there are many stories about people who had very bad reactions from their friends and families. Gays expressed how they were diminished, insulted, criticized and ridiculed. In some extreme cases, young people were kicked out of their own homes and others attempted suicide to escape the pain (whether just out of the closet or fear of coming out of the closet). It was then that I chose to make sure I was not another statistic and to live my life as my true self.
What are some ways we can help foster an inclusive environment so that everyone can bring their authentic selves to work? Why is this important?
We must raise awareness of people who can be themselves and enjoy healthy lives. There is a place for those still working to come out of the closet. We need to reach out to them and talk.
What positive policies or actions have you seen at Zynga that help promote equity in the workplace?
It has been amazing to see how the zPride employee resource group (ERG) has established itself and continues ongoing efforts to make it even better. We’re creating new projects to provide outreach for those in need of support in our community both within and outside of Zynga. One of those projects is helping to educate all people about proper pronouns and help end the stereotypes that can create oppression for others.
How can people be good allies in the workplace and beyond? What are some ways for people to educate themselves?
Establish common ground with everyone you meet as that can serve as a bridge to other conversations and empower people to open up. Learning pronoun etiquette has a small learning curve, but developing the habit helps you get to know people and shows respect for their proper pronoun. It’s a tough habit to break, so give it time.
What is a LGBTQIA2S+ movie, tv show, book, or game you think is a “must”?
Movie: “Love, Simon”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Ask questions and surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are. Living your life based on stereotypes is not sustainable.