If the TV series Hoarders ever decides to focus on social-justice hoarding, Jen Sung would be a prime candidate.
Why? Because the cheerful, blue-haired Taiwanese-Canadian queer, goth, femme powerhouse is—get ready for this—a communications and community liaison for the UBC Institute of Gender, Race, and Sexuality; a facilitator for Out in Schools; a board member of Our City of Colours, which raises the visibility of queer people in cultural and linguistic communities; a cofounder of the blog and video project Love Intersections, which addresses identity issues about race, gender, sexuality, and more; a member of an ad hoc virtual-reality/augmented-reality working group at UBC; and involved in various other projects as well.
Phew. Got all that? Good.
Mind you, Sung isn’t an angry, militant activist.
By phone, she says that she’s seen the burnout, challenges, and negativity that can come from fighting racism, classism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.
Rather than calling people out on what they’re doing, she would prefer to call people in by inviting people to join her.
“Love is the foundation of all of the work that we all do in the community, and so for us it’s kind of like the guiding theory that drives us to do what we do,” she says.
In fact, she hopes to “rebrand” social justice by thinking “holistically” about aesthetics, design, the arts, personal style, and more.
“I think social justice is cool because that’s what I do, and I also recognize at the same time that it needs to look different, or at least have the option to look differently,” she says. “It’s not just about the actual content itself but it’s about how we stylize it, how we paint a picture around it so everything is taken into consideration. For me, that level of care and the attention to detail is very relevant.”
While she’s at it, she says she wants to counter perceptions of millennials as lazy, privileged, and selfish. Considering how much she’s done thus far, it looks like she’s already achieved that. In spades.