History

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The Baltimore Transgender Alliance was founded in 2015 as a response to complex systemic issues affecting trans people: violence against the community, namely the death of Mya Hall at the hands of BCPD, and a lack of autonomy and access to resources for trans activists working in cis-led spaces and organizations.


Years of organizing and labor of our elders brought Baltimore to an awareness of the value of our transgender residents in 2014. Yet it was the loss of Mia Henderson and Kandy Hall that summer, which clarified that Baltimore needed a formation of transgender leaders that could call together the many trans led organizations of the city in coalition beyond the purview of larger LGBT community organizations. Under the leadership of Bryanna Jenkins, Monica Yorkman and Ken Jiretsu, Baltimore’s transgender communities united and formed The Baltimore Transgender Alliance. This family of organizations, activists, and community members is an autonomous transgender sanctuary that is a conduit for the power of our community members to energize the Movement for Trans Lives in our city.

Mission

NURTURE. EQUIP. WITNESS. 

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Nurture our resilience.

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We believe in an accommodating future for all, especially those at the margins of their communities.

We support those who have been marginalized so that our interdependence forms the strongest web of resilience possible. Harming one of us becomes impossible because we are too entangled. In sharing responsibility for one another’s healing, we collectively work through pain. We nurture latent trans potential to strengthen our bonds. Directly stewarding the trans bodies doing this vital labor, we nurture the ecosystem of transgender creators. Our strength is grounded in our support and our interdependence is lethal to our oppressors.

 

Equip with knowledge.

Access is not equitable in our culture and so we connect our siblings.

Through mentorship and youth leadership development we connect trans people to exclusive systems that have historically undervalued us. We vet and connect untapped trans talent to our community partners through these programs. Through trainings, we outwardly equip organizations with the tools to value trans individuals, giving them the agency to apply those tools to their lives.

 

Witness our brilliance.

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We see humanity through the lens of transness. Our positionality on the margins gives us sight.

As trans community leaders, we are uniquely qualified to see each others humanity beyond the tropes projected on our bodies. Mainstream societal conditioning renders trans men invisible and trans women hypervisible. Grounded in neuro-accomodation and non-binary leadership, our survival gives way to perspective. Above the circumstance of our own gender we understand structures. We seek to liberate the youth that dream us; validating possibility. Reclaiming our stories in the past, we decolonize normative projections onto gender variant people throughout history. Now our goal is to liberate the potential of our next generation. We believe that reclamation without ownership is liberation.

 

Structure 

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Our vision of social change culminates in trans liberation. We are uniquely situated to do the work of interfacing between community and affirming power structures. We do not seek to fit into a larger narrative of anti-oppression work. We work to unite trans leadership and gather organizing power in opposition of “queerphobic blackness” and “racist queerness” to make true intersectional politics the face of our social justice. We seek to break down the barriers between street-based trans sex workers and academic queers in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Transgender Alliance encourages its members to have community engagement outside of the alliance. There is a precedent behind trans community stakeholders passive membership in the alliance. Our alliance is our ability to work together --not under a larger LGBT umbrella but as a trans community.

We are a parallel platform of transgender leaders. We operate on consensus deliberately because we understand that we can’t replicate the systems of marginalization that we seek to oppose in our pursuit of self-empowerment. We function, in part, as a project that can be used by all transgender people as an organizing tool to energize other projects; incubating anything that improves the lives of Baltimore's transgender population. Come talk with us about how we can work together to empower our community!

 Our Team

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Jamie Grace Alexander

Community Director

Jamie Grace started with BTA as a youth activist; at 17, reading their poems at rallies & vigils in the rain. They continue their community art practice through their street art & curatorial project, @gendermuseum. They attend the University of Baltimore for Nonprofit Management & Community Leadership & apply those skills in their work with Baltimore Transgender Alliance team.

Pronouns: They/ Them & She/ Her
Contact: jamie.grace@bmoretransalliance.com

 
 
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Dre Cortes

Program Director

Dre currently serves as the Program Director for The Baltimore Transgender Alliance. They also serve on the volunteer planning committee for Maryland’s LGBTQ Youth Prom, and freelance odd jobs for the community under “Dre for Pay”. Dre loves dinosaurs.

Pronouns: They/ Them
Contact: dre@bmoretransalliance.com

 
 
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Jaz Barnett

Co-Director of Media & Technology

Jaz Barnett is an agender trans person. Their interests include writing, journaling, drawing, and cooking. They are creative, silly, energetic, and fun. While they’ve only been part of The Baltimore Transgender Alliance since 2018, they are eager to learn and help however they’re able. Also they are a cat parent.

Pronouns: They/ Them & Ze/ Hir
Contact: jaz@bmoretransalliance.com

 
 
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Evan Lori Mahone

Co-Director of Media & Technology

Evan is our resident artist and programmer. She strongly believes in the power of community - and has a passion to support all queer, trans, and neurodivergent people. Evan graduated in 2013 from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a degree in computer science. She uses her expertise with technology and lifelong experience as an artist for trans liberation.

Pronouns: She/ Her & They/ Them
Contact: evan@bmoretransalliance.com
Website: evanlori.com

 
 
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Ngaire Rose Philip

Director of Development

Ngaire first ventured into LGBT activism during her studies at UMBC. Her unsupported work there led her to turn away from activism & focus on her writing and studies in GWST. She graduated in 2016 & was pulled out of retirement & into the project in 2018. Today she works in nonprofit development while organizing with her trans family to expand the established access, strategy & funding structures of BTA.

Pronouns: They/ Them & She/ Her
Contact: ngaire@bmoretransalliance.com

 

PARTNERS

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BTA has historically been a major player in collaborative work in Baltimore. This is tied to our understanding of networking as a useful form of grassroots organizing and our involvement in work outside of BTA. Our partners are our accomplices in our work: organizations who share our vision and readily collaborate with us.


Force: Upsetting Rape Culture

BTA works closely with FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture in acknowledging that 47% of trans people reported being victims of sexual assault in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. We collaborated with their Listening Campaign to witness the stories of sexual assault survivors.

We also held three quilting sessions in collaboration with FORCE where around 30 trans Baltimoreans made squares to go on the Monument Quilt displayed in Washington, DC.


Sex Workers Outreach Project Baltimore

BTA also partnered with Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Baltimore for their International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers event. Sistas of the T was particularly heavily involved, providing catering and Monica Stevens Yorkman providing the keynote of the evening with a poetry selection. BTAs fostered space for the event to host the largest percentage of trans attendance in its history.


Freestate Justice

We currently work closely with FreeState Justice and other partner orgs offering testimony in support of the passage of a Gender X bill. The availability of a legal Gender X marker in Washington, DC has given nonbinary organizers in Maryland the proximity and access to a working system that can be replicated and implemented.


Sistas of the ‘t’

Sistas of the “t” is an independent network made up of transgender women who believe that self-empowerment is the solution to many of our problems. They also believe that through developing sisterhoods and positive reinforcement, we can best help other achieve personal success. BTA supports sistas in their pending leadership transition as they continue to grow trans power in Baltimore City.


Baltimore Safe Haven


Youth Empowered Society