Baltimore Safe Haven, nonprofit helping vulnerable LGBTQ residents vandalized on Transgender Visibility Day – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Baltimore Safe Haven, a transgender-led nonprofit that provides housing and support services for vulnerable LGBTQ residents, was vandalized with bigoted graffiti on International Transgender Day of Visibility, the group tweeted.

The organization common images of the words “F— Pride” and “Die” were spray-painted on a door. Another door was tagged with purple spray paint.

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International Transgender Day of Visibility, held annually on March 31, celebrates transgender and gender non-conforming people and raises awareness of the discrimination they face.

Nicole Wells, a case manager at Baltimore Save Haven, told WJZ she found the graffiti on the group’s building when she got into work around 8:40 a.m. Thursday.

“I was scared,” she said. “I was shaking.”

Wells quickly went inside, worried whoever tagged the building might still be in the area.

“It’s 2022. We’re human too,” Wells said. “We have feelings like everyone else.”

Iya Dammons, the organization’s founder and chief executive officer, said the experience was “traumatizing” for her and her staff.

“We all had to take a deep breath,” she said.

But she continued, “We’re not going to let that break us. We will not bend. We will do the job.”

Baltimore Safe Haven has been a victim of crime before. An LGBTQ youth center in North Baltimore was burgled last October, Dammons said.

Dammons believes the group is now being targeted for hosting a June 4 trans-pride block party. People online have posted hateful comments about her, calling her a “tall man with a wig” or saying her mother will call her dead Pages to the event.

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She urged Baltimore residents to attend the event to show their support.

“At this point we have to leave the city behind us,” Dammons said. “We also live in Baltimore, our lives matter.”

Located in the Charles North neighborhood, the Baltimore Safe Haven offers a one-stop shop that offers groceries and temporary housing, among other services.

“Baltimore Safe Haven focuses on members with an average annual income of less than $10,000 who are currently or have a history of sex work, are substance abusers, and are either homeless or at risk of homelessness,” the statement said group says on his website.

Baltimore City Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement condemning the vandalism.

“I am disgusted to learn of the transphobic and homophobic graffiti that was painted on the Baltimore Safe Haven property,” she said. “Hate has no home in our city and we will work with our partners to find and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

She called the timing of the crime “doubly heartbreaking”.

Jamie Grace Alexander, a policy coordinator for legal representation Free State Justice, said the hateful message overshadowed the support services the Baltimore Safe Haven provides to LGBTQ people in need.

Alexander helped the non-profit organization organize the painting a mural that reads “Black Trans Lives Matter” along two blocks of N. Charles Street.

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“This is an organization that does an incredible job,” Alexander said. Baltimore Safe Haven, nonprofit helping vulnerable LGBTQ residents vandalized on Transgender Visibility Day – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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