A Google executive sparked backlash from LGBT- supporting employees after using the term “family” in an internal presentation.
The Daily Caller exposed a 2017 incident where Google was in uproar over a “family”-oriented product aimed at children. LGBT-sympathetic employees disparaged the term as “offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong” because it denies that non-traditional arrangements, such as childless couples, are families.
One angry employee’s memo, which was well-received by Google’s community, read “‘family’ as a synonym for ‘with children’ has a long-standing association with deeply homophobic organizations.”
About 100 other Google employees have upvoted this post, some of whom wrote sentiments like “Thanks for writing this. So much yes.”
“It smacks of the ‘family values’ agenda by the right wing, which is absolutely homophobic by its very definition… As a straight person in a relationship, I find the term ‘family’ offensive because it excludes me and my boyfriend, having no children of our own.”
Another employee added, “My family consists of me and several other trans feminine folks, some of whom I’m dating… Just because we aren’t a heterosexual couple with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog doesn’t mean we’re not a family.”
The post also proposed that the term family can only be palatable if it is wholly redefined,
“This does not mean we should not use the word ‘family’ to refer to families, but it mean[s] we must doggedly insist that family does not imply children.”
Google Engineering Vice President Pavni Diwanji has since acknowledged that use of the term “family” has been problematic enough to raise “concerns”
“Hi everyone, I realize what we said at tgif might have caused concerns in the way we talked about families. There are families without kids too, and also we needed to be more conscientious about the fact that there is a diverse makeup of parents and families,”
While the incident originally occurred in March 2017, it did not become an issue until The Daily Caller broke the story in mid-January.