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LGBTQ+ in Tech: My Experience at a Startup with Mig Ortiz

Miguel Ortiz
June 1, 2022

This article is part of our series: “… in Tech” where we ask a team member at Snappy to give us their experience as a member of their community, specifically what working at a tech startup means to them as an individual, and on a societal level. 

It’s important to share these stories to better understand the experiences that may not be our own. Our job is not for them to educate us but to listen to their story. Each team member is simply sharing their story so that we can gain a deeper appreciation for those experiences.

I grew up in South Florida and currently live in Seattle, WA. In my free time, I like to explore nature trails of the Pacific Northwest, discover nearby coffee shops to journal in, and go to live music events. 

After graduating college in Spring of 2021, I was on the hunt for my next career opportunity and knew exactly what I was looking for; I needed to find an organization with an exciting mission, an opportunity for growth as a professional, and a work culture that supports its people. Enter: Snappy! I felt it was a match immediately and proved to the team why I believed we were a perfect fit. I started working at Snappy on the Product Support team in November 2021 and have loved it ever since!

Unique experiences give you a valuable professional perspective.

After working for different tech companies, I am proud to say that I have worked alongside many other LGBTQ+ individuals who excel at their jobs, are great thinkers, and are kind, empathetic people. Being LGBTQ+ is not always a noticeable trait, so I love employee resource groups (ERGs) like Prism at Snappy that allow queer individuals to gather, socialize, and work together to create a more inclusive work environment. 

I believe that the unique experiences that shape our lives give us a perspective that can be useful in a professional setting. My life experience as a gay cis male has taught me the importance of empathy toward others who may seem different. Empathy can always be valuable in the workplace when interacting with clients and co-workers. 

A colorful celebration to no longer consent to oppression.

For me, Pride month is about visibility and allyship. Pride began as a revolt against unjust oppression that infiltrated even the safe LGBTQ+ spaces at the time. Pride month has served as a celebratory expression of that revolt against unjust oppression each year since. 

Think about this: when an object presses down on a coil spring, there is stored energy in the coils, but if the stored energy overpowers the force of the object, then the stored energy releases that force against the object. The LGBTQ+ community has been oppressed for a long time (unfortunately, even till this day), but Pride is a colorful celebration of our decision as a community to no longer consent to that oppression.

A rainbow Pride flag is a queer symbol of hope, safety, and allyship. Pride is a stand for all who believe that gender/sexual identity (or any other trait that makes us “different”) is not enough to deny the humanity that connects us all.

Visibility is important.

This Pride Month, I will be watching the Seattle Pride Parade for the first time! Of course, being a huge party, I hope to see some drag shows and check out the nearby bars and clubs hosting Pride events in Capitol Hill. Pride is also a great time to break out my rainbow apparel because visibility is important! 

Lastly, while Pride is a celebration for those who can express themselves freely, it is important to remember that it can still be a struggle for many who still deal with oppression. This is why I also take this time to donate to amazing organizations that are doing the hard work of supporting and uplifting our community year-round. Here is a link to just a few of them. 

I’ve learned that Pride Month is an example of the kind of social reform possible when we rally around a minority group that has been dealt with a great deal of injustice. Pride is a celebration of the culture that makes the LGBTQ+ community unique, but it is also a blueprint for how we can celebrate the cultures of other minorities that enrich our society overall.

Looking to the future.

Snappy has an ERG (Prism) for LGBTQ+ members, which is a great place to connect with and learn from other co-workers about topics within our community. The group also works to inform and engage all employees by planning fun activities and events. Snappy’s DEI Manager is great at creating ways for all employees from diverse backgrounds to feel included and seen. I want to continue seeing more diversity represented in leadership positions since these positions have traditionally been out of reach for LGBTQ+ and other minorities – but Snappy is a growing company, so I am sure we will get there. 

At the end of the day, we’re all just humans. We work, we laugh, we bleed, we feel, we hurt, we love, all the same. 

Editor's note:

For more information on how Snappy is celebrating Pride Month, check out our Pride Summer Collection celebrating Pride and all things summer and this month's Rising Voices Collection uplifting LGBTQ+ businesses.

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