We’re celebrating equality without exception this Pride Month with the help of LGBTQIA+ members of our community.
Today we’re catching up with Lauren Sundstrom, model, trans woman and trans rights activist. Let’s get into it!
For our #smashtessfam that aren’t familiar with you, tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
My day job is in marketing, but in my spare time, I’m a content creator with a focus on ethical/sustainable style, trans rights and lifestyle bits and bobs.
As a model, content creator, and someone who works in marketing, you’ve seen the power of social media, especially in this past year. What is your advice to brands and creators wanting to continue using social media for good?
My advice is to know your stuff! Always be willing to do research and learn the root cause of a social justice issue so you know how to best discuss it with your audience. It’s never okay to ask a marginalized person to do that work for you—Google is your best friend, and the internet is chocked full of free resources so you can educate yourself and those who follow you.
Before the pandemic, you shared a lot of your world travels on Instagram. Where are you looking forward to visiting next once travel opens again?
Oh gosh, my partner and I really want to go back to Taipei! The food is unbelievable there. But first, I desperately need to go see my grandma in California.
How do you like to honour and celebrate pride month?
I like to celebrate and honour Pride Month by ensuring organizations and queer individuals are receiving donations and making sure I continue to tell the stories of my trans foremothers who started Pride through their bravery and commitment to justice.
What does your love look like? Feel like? Sound like?
My love for my partner looks like a lot of things—it looks like acts of kindness, feels like a warm embrace and sounds like a lot of laughter.
What LGBTQAI+ organizations do you like to support?
I love supporting Rainbow Refugee. I’m currently working with them to sponsor a transgender refugee and the work they do is absolutely tireless and necessary. They’re incredible people and a fantastic organization. Another fabulous one that’s based in America is called GLITS, they house trans people who are leaving prison. Prison is especially traumatic for trans folks, as many of us are housed in the incorrect facilities and having a soft landing upon release is vital (that, along with prison abolition).
What does equality without exception mean to you?
Equality without exception means that you accept someone and treat them well regardless of any of their intersecting identities that would otherwise marginalize them. And it’s uplifting the most marginalized among us—trans folks, Black folks, indigenous folks, just to name a few.
How can brands and public figures better support the LGBTQIA+ community beyond Pride Month?
Brands and public figures have an obligation to support marginalized people and draw attention to issues affecting LGBTQIA+ folks. When you have an audience who is attentive and tuned in to what you have to say, utilizing that unique privilege to educate is imperative. We can’t move forward without platforming folks who need it.
We're so grateful to have you in our Smash + Tess community! Where can readers go to learn more about you online?
If you liked what I have to say, folks can feel free to follow me at @laurengsundstrom!
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Lauren! If you’d like to make your mark and celebrate Pride Month, you can pick up one of our limited-edition patches and a portion of the proceeds will go towards supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community!