Black Trans Lives Matter

Highlighting the Work of Baltimore Safe Haven

Last month, Baltimore Safe Haven organized the 2nd Annual Black Trans Lives Matter march* where they advocated for better housing and healthcare. We are pleased to highlight this amazing non-profit organization. This organization not only centers trans people, but helps trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people through housing programs, providing food, and much more.

Baltimore Safe Haven photo of 2nd Black Trans Live Matter March in July 2021. Photo shows a line of people marching down a Baltimore Street. The person in the middle is holding up a trans flag.

(Baltimore Safe Haven gave permission to use above photo from their Facebook page.)

When asked about the future of Baltimore Safe Haven, Mally Deveraux, Executive Assistant at Baltimore Safe Haven, said: “The future looks bright. It looks prosperous. It looks like the agency growing and continuing to grow. When you do something with conviction, passion, and love, it has no other option but to grow.”

Baltimore Safe Haven started out as a dream for Iya Dammons. She saw how her community was being treated and decided to make a change. Often for TLGBQ people, living in survival mode is the norm. There is pain, trauma, and obstacles. Baltimore Safe Haven provides opportunities for TLGBQ people and dreams of a world where every TLGBQ person lives a “healthy, self-determined, and self-sufficient life free from stigma, violence, and oppression.”

Iya Dammons, Executive Director of Baltimore Safe Haven, speaks at the Trans Day of Visibility event in front of Baltimore City Hall.

(Photo credit: Nicole McCann)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nothing stopped this organization from continuing to provide help. They adjusted their services, but never ceased operations. As the pandemic got under control in the U.S., seven people have graduated from their housing program where they learned resident stabilization and acquisition of life skills.

Mally Deveraux describes it as one of her most proud accomplishments while working at Baltimore Safe Haven. “None of our services stopped. We just had to figure out a different way,” said Mally.

Blue, pink, and white flowers representing the trans flag, and a Black person's braids with orange and yellow accents.

(Photo credit: Nicole McCann)

To all TLGBQ people struggling, the Baltimore Safe Haven provides hope. “Love is the message,” said Mally. “Do everything from love. Grow and teach from love. If everything you do comes from the right place, it will flourish.”

Black Trans Lives Matter sign

(Photo credit: Nicole McCann)

*Baltimore Safe Haven’s first Black Trans Lives Matter march on June 5, 2020, received nationwide attention because of local photographer Devin Allen’s powerful Time Magazine cover photo.