The chief operating officer (COO) of social media company TikTok came out on Monday as nonbinary.
In posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, Pappas said they told TikTok staff over the weekend, noting that they felt it was important to share why they came out.
“I primarily go by V and more recently they/them,” they wrote. “While most of you know me as being fairly private as it relates to my personal life I did feel it important to bring my whole self to work and to share my gender identity and preferred pronouns. And through my actions show that difference is accepted and welcomed at TikTok.”
“1/ A personal update. I shared this to our TikTok organization over the weekend and wanted to bring visibility here as well.”
Pappas explained that they realized their identity through raising their children. They wrote that they “take a lot of lessons from being a parent.”
They added: “Often my kids provide me with self-reflection through their questions and own exploration of ideas. I am pansexual and raising my kids in a same sex household with my loving spouse of 20+ years … 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.”
Pappas wrote that conversations they’ve had as a family had focused a lot on gender identity.
“Since representation matters, I recognize the importance of language in identifying & affirming gender differences. As a parent I also want to set an example on how its ok to represent yourself in a way that you most identify with & to have pride & to celebrate such difference.”
The TikTok boss also explained that they understand how coming out while in their position could help others.
A study from the LGBTQ+ business organization Out Leadership found that out of 5,670 board members in Fortune 500 companies only 26 identified as LGBTQ+.
Last year, TikTok announced its decision to ban misgendering, deadnaming, and posts related to conversion therapy.
Pappas closed the message by saying that they use both they/them and she/her pronouns and that they “still very much value my identity as being both a woman and nonbinary.”
They continued, “I don’t worry if you don’t use V or they/them all the time, but I do appreciate the effort to recognize my preferences. Thank you.”
The Advocate has reached out to Pappas for comment.