The success of an organization is not only measured by revenue numbers but also the impact it creates in lives of the people who contribute to its success. Amazon has always strived to create a safe, inclusive, and progressive workplace where every employee and partner feels empowered to express their opinions and bring their authentic selves to work. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have struggled with fears of bias and judgement in professional environments, but at Amazon, many have found acceptance, empathy, and empowerment.
Here's what changed for Tanujit, Rudhr, and Ria when they became a part of Amazon.
This is Part 2 of a three-part series of LGBTQIA+ stories. Read Part 1 here
How Ria found strength
Ria, a Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon India, came out to her colleagues since the beginning of her tenure with the company. She says that everyone has been accepting of her orientation and relationship and says that coming out never impacted her work or growth in the organization.
Says Ria, “The closet is not where we belong. There is possibly an LGBTQIA+ person in everybody’s life, it’s just that you are likely unaware of them. Be an ally, make room and give them a safe space, and see them unfold into the vivacious individuals they are. When I came to terms with my identity, there was very little awareness and representation from the community. I believe embracing your identity is equally important in both the personal and professional sphere, because only then you can realize your full potential. Financial independence goes a long way in giving you the confidence to speak up and be yourself.”
How Tanujit found courage
Tanujit, a Program Manager for Payment Risk Tools at Amazon India, says that from the moment he joined Amazon, he was introduced to a completely different environment and culture.
“Amazon helped me find the courage to be my authentic self at work.”
“I was meeting and working alongside people from all walks of life, and from all over the world. Everyone on my team made me feel so much at ease that it felt natural to come out to them about my identity. It is important for any individual to have an environment where they can grow, where teams are so supportive and open-minded. Amazon has been that place for me and helped me find the courage to be my authentic self at work,” says Tanujit, who has met several LGBTQIA+ people with similar experiences via Glamazon.
How Rudhr found support
Rudhr dealt with a lot of gender discrimination as a young person. A few years ago, He was forced to resign from a previous job because he wanted to undergo a gender reassignment surgery and transition into the person he is today. Rudhr decided that he wanted to join a company that was more accepting of his identity, and joined Amazon’s Security and Loss Prevention team in 2021.
“I don’t feel different here and am treated on par with everyone else.”
Says Rudhr, “I faced a lot of rejections due to my identity in the past, but I was determined to gain recognition in my work. I became the first trans fitness trainer in India in 2021, and joined Amazon India as a Security Specialist later that year. I don’t feel different here and am treated on par with everyone else. My manager and colleagues are very are supportive and have even adjusted my shifts so that I can continue my transition sessions. My work is not impacted at all.”
Amazon prides itself as an equal opportunity employer. From enabling just one affinity group in 2005 to supporting over 13 employee resource groups (ERGs) around the world, Amazon recognizes the transformational power that empathy and education can have on its employees. With global operations like Glamazon in place, Amazon acknowledges the struggles that members of the LGBTQIA+ community go through and is committed to empowering them professionally.
To learn more about Amazon's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program, watch this video with Beth Galetti, who is Amazon's Senior VP of People experience and Technology.