The inaugural Baltimore Trans Pride Parade, held on Saturday, June 9, 2022, was hosted by Baltimore Safe Haven, which is the only trans-led wellness center in Baltimore. The event was rooted in love and celebrated by its many attendants and sideline supporters.
We—Meredith Klepper and Carissa Lawrence—attended as representatives of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex+ Health Initiative (JHSON LHI). We are nurses and PhD students focused on reducing health inequities for transgender patients, so we were grateful for the opportunity to participate.
The majorettes and drum line danced and pride chants reverberated through the Baltimore city streets. Yet, marching alongside the Baltimore trans community and its allies, the day of joyous smiles, good vibes, and laughter was at odds with historical and contemporary injustices perpetrated against trans people. “Pride” began in 1969 with spontaneous protests outside New York City’s Stonewall Inn that occurred in response to police raids targeting sexual and gender minority patrons. Stonewall trailblazers included Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera; their legacy lives on in the community leaders who advocate for trans and gender diverse individuals, a group that still experiences adverse health outcomes due to high levels of stigma and marginalization.
We are committed to future initiatives that promote the health and well-being of the Baltimore Trans population so the community prosper and thrive.
To that end, the JHSON LHI is building up our relationship with Baltimore Safe Haven. We marched in the Baltimore Trans Pride Parade, but are also collaborating with advocates at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to formally connect the organization with Johns Hopkins SOURCE, the community engagement and service-learning center for the Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine.
Baltimore Safe Haven
Baltimore Safe Haven focuses on supporting trans community members with an annual median income of less than $10,000, who are currently engaged in or have a history in sex work, who are substance users, and who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They provide a wide range of services to the community, including upward mobility services, advocacy assistance, HIV testing, harm reduction, PrEP and medical linkage, case management, and linkage to housing services. As a SOURCE partner, they will benefit from the Johns Hopkins network, while Johns Hopkins students will have more opportunities to learn in a hands on environment.
We are currently hosting an online fundraiser for Baltimore Safe Haven. Supporting trans-led community-based organizations like Baltimore Safe Haven is a meaningful way to celebrate Pride Month and we are proud to be a small part of efforts at the university to collaborate with community leaders.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEREDITH KLEPPER
Meredith Klepper (they/them) is a PhD student at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing with a broad interest in LGBTQI+ nursing care and more specifically, social support for transgender youth and its effect on mental health. Meredith is the Student Chair of the JHSON LGBTQI+ Health Initiative (LHI) and they recently received a small grant from the Association of Community Health Educators (ACHNE) for the LHI to create faculty training videos for inclusion of LGBTQI+ related content in nursing curricula at JHSON.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CARISSA LAWRENCE
Carissa Lawrence, (she/her) is a PhD student at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She recently published op-ed “Vaccine hesitancy is no excuse for systemic racism” for the Hastings Center. Her interests lie in health equity, racism, and health advocacy. Currently, she is working to improve access to care for queer, non-binary, gender non-conforming individuals.