T-Mobile Pride Spotlight: I Have Impact
If you look up Ellis Bishop-Wright (He/Him) online today, you would be hard pressed not to find some kind of positive comment about how he has impacted people at work. As Ellis was preparing to be part of a Lesbians Who Tech event with T-Mobile Chief Human Resource Officer Deeanne King this month to discuss his coming out story at the company, many who felt touched by his kindness were on all major social channels singing his praise.
“Ellis has been a leader and advocate for Human Rights as long as I’ve known him,” writes one person. “He is someone I am proud to work alongside and learn from.”
Others posted that the senior learning solutions consultant in T-Mobile’s Career Development and Learning organization is someone who has been “dedicated to creating a safe and affirming environment in the workplace.” Ellis’ online persona paints an unshakeable force. But speak to Ellis directly and he will acknowledge that the powerful person he feels today is in stark contrast to the person he felt like just four years ago.
“It was May of 2018, and I was depressed, unemployed, and had real doubts I would ever get hired,” says Ellis.
Having lived in a part of Memphis where he says he and his wife were not particularly welcomed in their local stores or their kids’ schools, it wasn’t until he joined T-Mobile a year later that something switched.
“The environment at T-Mobile gave me a lot of confidence and that space to explore who I am,” says Ellis, “and helped me get to the point where I was like, ‘Okay, I’m trans and I need to admit this and stop spending so much time and energy not admitting it.’”
Ellis says he knows there are so many who do not share in his positive experience of coming out at work.
“I am representing trans people of T-Mobile,” says Ellis, “and my coming out was like landing on a soft cloud. Deeanne was excited. My manager happy-cried when I told her. People got so excited for me, and it has just been like doors always open … but I know that others — many, many others — haven’t had such a positive coming out experience as I have and sometimes I feel like guilty about it.”
And while Ellis is careful not to imply through his personal story that there aren’t real risks that trans people face every day when they come out at work, he says he hopes showing what a positive experience can do for both the person and the overall work environment can be impactful on a micro and macro scale.
“This is my first foray into the world as a transgender man,” says Ellis. “When I combine that with the terrifying and terrible legislation that is happening all over this country against trans people, I feel now is the time to speak up and have our voices heard.”