V Pappas, TikTok’s Chief Operating Officer, has proudly come out as non-binary and has updated their name and pronouns to include “they/them” in addition to “she/her.” Pappas made the announcement on February 6th in a LinkedIn post, sharing why it is important to them to be open about their identity at work and in their personal life. Pappas stated that they feel it is important to “bring [their] whole self to work and to share [their] gender identity and preferred pronouns.”
Pappas also explained that they came to understand their gender identity through discussions with their children and the importance of recognizing diversity in their family. They wrote, “As a family we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of recognizing diversity across sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic status, personal abilities, political backgrounds, etc. And how, seeing and embracing differences, and enabling all voices to be heard, fosters a more inclusive community.”
In response to Pappas’ post, many of their followers praised their choice to come out and be visible, with one executive saying “I can’t wait to show this to my seven-year-old.” The TikTok community has a history of advocating for inclusiveness and equality, having banned misgendering, deadnaming, misogyny, and conversion therapy content in February 2022. Head of Trust and Safety for TikTok, Cormac Keenan, stated that these “ideologies [had] long been prohibited” on the platform but decided to explicitly ban them after feedback from creators and civil society organizations.