Recognizing transgender people demonstrates they are valued and respected

Danielle Maxwell | March 2021

International Transgender Day of Visibility  is an annual event occurring on March 31. It’s dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face worldwide.

As part of Micron’s commitment to honoring diversity and creating a culture of inclusion, we recognize this day and advocate for LGBTQ+ equality. Micron’s employee resource group PRIDE+ Allies was created to help LGBTQ+ team members (and their allies) thrive as their authentic selves in the workplace and community.

One team member’s transition journey

Team member Shannon Hansen, NAND product engineer and PRIDE+ Allies global leader, shares her experience as a transgender Micron team member and discusses the importance of the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Shannon has been a Micron team member for nearly 20 years. She started her career at Micron as a DRAM intern in the summer of 2001. Now a senior member of technical staff, Shannon has witnessed the new Micron’s proactive efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community and the positive cultural changes within the company.

Earlier in Shannon’s career at Micron, she didn’t feel empowered to talk about gender identity. “It was something team members shied away from,” she said. “We felt like it was something that we weren’t encouraged to talk about at work.”

Because no space had been identified for LGBTQ+ members’ visibility, Shannon recalled being fearful of simply using the word transgender in the workplace. “I was terrified to search for the word ‘transgender’ in any of Micron’s tools for fear of being flagged for inappropriate internet usage.” In fact, when the official team announcement came out about her transition in 2015, the message was so watered down that the word transgender wasn’t even used.

Now serving as the PRIDE+ Allies ERG global leader, Shannon feels empowered to talk openly about gender identity. She also advises Micron’s People organization in educating and preparing managers and team members when co-workers announce they are coming out. “It feels good to be a part of the conversation,” she said. The culture has shifted to helping all team members feel seen, heard, valued and respected.

In 2015, Shannon started her transition journey. During this time, she was tasked with giving large trainings to new incoming engineers. Initially, she hesitated to be in front of a large group of peers, especially during her transition. But the support of her leadership and team members gave her the confidence to move forward. Shannon described the opportunity as “transformative” and “a huge inflection point” in her career. “I felt like, hey, if I can do that, I can do anything.”

Significant cultural change at Micron

When asked to recount a time of significant change in Micron’s atmosphere for LGBTQ+ team members, Shannon dates it back to Sanjay Mehrotra becoming Micron’s CEO.

“He made it a point to sit down with team members, and I remember vividly, he actually sat right next to me. We had an honest conversation about LGBTQ, basically the state of everything LGBTQ at Micron, and he was very sincere. And after the fact, he assembled all the right people to tackle the issues.”

Since then, Micron has become an LGBTQ+ corporate leader and recently received a perfect score of 100 on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index. The index measures a company’s workforce protections, inclusive benefits, and the supportive and inclusive nature of its culture for LGBTQ+ team members. Achieving such an score is largely attributed to the proactive and extensive work of the PRIDE+ Allies ERG.

But Shannon also attributes this success to Sanjay’s vigilance on addressing previously low CEI scores for the company. “He asked what things were keeping us from scoring well on it, what things do we need to do, how do we get proactive, how do we become best in class?”

One answer was for Micron to enhance its U.S. health care benefits for the LGBTQ+ community. Micron has taken action, offering benefits to domestic partners and providing enhancements to transgender benefits. Then, in 2021, the company added a concierge service — Included Health — to better connect team members to culturally competent, high-quality providers who understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

When asked about the significance of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, Shannon emphasized the importance of representation and how it can encourage others like her to be confident in their identity. “The thing that visibility does, at least in the trans community, is that it helps normalize it. It helps make it easier for folks to transition earlier and not have it have such a severe impact on their lives. In the end, we would like people to be their true selves, and I’m fortunate to be able to say that, after all the dust settled in my journey, I am better off.”

Intern, Diversity & Inclusion

Danielle Maxwell

Danielle Maxwell is an intern on Micron’s Diversity Equality and Inclusion team. With an education in Communications and extensive work experience in editorial and marketing roles, Danielle is passionate about using her skill set to amplify the voices of minority groups by sharing their stories.