Lauren Sundstrom is just that. As a 33-year-old trans woman living in Vancouver, B.C., Sundstrom has become a champion for equality and liberation for trans folks and the LGBTQ+ community.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, and Women’s History Month, Sundstrom spoke to TELUS about coming out, her advocacy journey and the importance of self-love and empowerment.
“It honestly just kind of happened. I was so scared to reveal to the world on a broad scale that I'm a trans woman, but I got sick of the secrecy. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops,” she said of her decision to come out in 2018 after having been closeted for about a decade after completing her medical transition. “I adore my community and my only regret was spending years feeling ashamed of who I am thanks to an unwelcoming society.”
And though she advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, she pays an immense respect to changemakers lobbying for trans rights.
“I know many other trans folks who tirelessly dedicate their lives to forwarding our rights in a way that I just don't have in me. I commend those people. But in my own small way, I hope I'm delivering a message that trans folks can find happiness despite living in an oppressive world. That trans joy is infectious and available to those who choose to transition. That transitioning is the biggest self-love act one can partake in.”
Empowerment and Authenticity
Sundstrom leans into a message of self-acceptance — an essential ingredient to living an authentic life — in her daily content on Instagram and Tik Tok.
But she also recognizes that this can be easier said than done. Personal risk to safety among LGBTQ+ community members is still disproportionately high based on Statistics Canada. Sundstrom has shared this with her community, such as living alone, as well as the importance of knowing options available in Canada that can empower individuals to take control of their safety.
Last year, Sundstrom partnered with TELUS SmartWear Security to talk about the significance of the wearable safety device in helping empower trans women and the LGBTQ+ community.
“Options like TELUS SmartWear Security can provide that added peace of mind so safety isn't occupying every thought and informing every decision one makes,” Sundstrom said. “These devices can give a person the extra little boost they need to express themselves the way they want or go on a date or anything, really.”
When asked about what Sundstrum hopes to see in the future, she shares: “I dream of a world where trans women and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole are truly liberated from tyranny and oppression.”
To hear more from Lauren Sundstrum, please check out this video. To learn more about TELUS SmartWear Security visit telus.com/smartwear.