Expanding Genders

Join us for Expanding Genders, a transformative event designed to honor International Trans Day of Visibility. This special gathering aims to celebrate the diverse experiences of the trans+ community, offering a space for inspiration, resource sharing, and the exploration of art, literature, criticism, and activism. Engage in meaningful dialogue during our panel discussion featuring prominent advocates and leaders such as Iya Dammons, Isaiah Lawrence, Randall Leonard, and Emily Scott, who bring invaluable insights from their groundbreaking work. Delve into “Trans Utopia” in our gallery, showcasing visionary art and creative expressions that reimagine the future for trans+ individuals. The event culminates with a closing talk by Erin Reed, a renowned journalist and advocate. Expanding Genders is more than an event; it’s an opportunity to forge new connections, celebrate the trans+ community’s resilience and vibrancy, and envision a world where every identity is affirmed and celebrated.

Date: April 2, 2024

Time: 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: the Great Hall, Levering, Homewood Campus

Register Here for Trans Utopias & Expanding Genders

Expanding Genders will feature:

  • a moderated panel discussion with Iya Dammons (founder of Safe Haven); Isaiah Lawrence (founder of Black Trans Visions and trans health educator for Mosaic); Randall Leonard (Founder of ENBY Consulting); Emily Scott (Pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Dreams and Visions)
  • Trans Utopia Exhibition with artworks that present visions for the future of a trans+-oriented reality
  • a closing talk with Erin Reed (creator of Erin in the Morning, journalist)
  • an opportunity to socialize, create connections, and meet each other.
Event Schedule
2:30-3:00Opening Reception with Trans Pride cookies from Common Ground Bakery Cafe
3:00-4:25Introduction and Panel Discussion
4:30-5:30Trans Utopia Exhibition, Art & Readings
5:35-6:20Closing Talk
6:20-6:50Closing Reception

How to find us:

The Great Hall is on the first floor of Levering Hall on the JHU Homewood campus, Baltimore, MD. Look for Levering Hall in the interactive map: https://www.jhu.edu/maps-directions/campus-map/

For the accessibility map, driving directions, and additional resources, see: https://www.jhu.edu/maps-directions/

The lounge next to the Great Hall will become a quiet space during the event.

Speaker Biographies

Iya Dammons is the Founder & Executive Director of Safe Haven. Baltimore Safe Haven (BSH) is committed to empowering TLGBQ individuals in Baltimore City who are navigating survival modes by providing inclusive and supportive spaces, resources, and opportunities. Safe Haven was founded in 2018 by Iya Dammons, a passionate Black trans woman activist with lived experience of homelessness, survival sex work, and incarceration. Iya recognized the pressing need for safe and supportive spaces for TLGBQIA+ individuals in Baltimore City who were living in survival mode. With a deep commitment to uplifting and empowering the community, she established BSH to provide opportunities for TLGBQIA+ individuals to thrive and overcome the challenges they faced. Since its inception, BSH has grown from a grassroots organization to become a leading provider of comprehensive support services for TLGBQIA+ individuals in Baltimore. Over the years, BSH has expanded its programs and offerings to address the diverse needs of the community. Through its housing programs, BSH provides stable housing solutions and support services to individuals facing homelessness and housing insecurity. The organization has also developed a wide range of programs and services focused on mental health support, physical health coordination, workforce development, legal support, advocacy, and community building. BSH’s impactful work and commitment to the community have earned recognition and accolades. The organization has been featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, highlighting its efforts in supporting marginalized communities. BSH continues to be a driving force in advocating for the rights and well-being of TLGBQIA+ individuals, collaborating with community partners, and working towards positive change at the local, state, and national levels. Today, BSH remains dedicated to its mission of providing TLGBQIA+ individuals in Baltimore City with the opportunities and resources they need to thrive. The organization’s rich history, visionary leadership, and unwavering commitment to the community have made it a beacon of hope and support for the TLGBQIA+ community in Baltimore and beyond.

Isaiah Lawrence is a Trans Health Navigator and community outreach expert. His passion uplifting the lived experiences and intersections of Black, trans communities led him to work directly with trans youth Marylanders, providing families with resources, community connection, and gender affirming care. Beyond mentoring Black transmasculine individuals across the U.S., Isaiah launched Selfhood: a Maryland-based peer support group for Black transmasculine young adults. He is also the lead facilitator of T4T: Trans Maryland’s peer support group. Isaiah is the Trans Health Educator and Harm Reduction Lead for Mosaic, organizing relationships and resources toward the leadership, safety, and autonomy of Black trans men and transmasculine folks across Maryland through healing justice centered programs and community events. Isaiah is the founder of Black Trans Visions, an organization advocating for Black trans folks in the DMV. We aim to liberate Black trans people from the barriers to access trans healthcare, physical, and mental wellness through patient advocacy services (unaffiliated with any health care entity) for individuals seeking gender affirming surgeries. Black Trans Visions also consults with providers on best practices for transgender related care for providers, and excitedly provides wellness and healing workshops for the trans community.

Randall Leonard, LCSW-C, (they/them/theirs) is a proud Black clinical social worker, mental health clinician, and community healer. They currently hold healing space focused on the liberation of Queer peoples through encouraging authenticity, reconnecting to history and lineage, and empowering shared lived experiences. These roles include both independent Clinical Therapy practice, organizational training and mediation, and active co-facilitation with the Kindred Wellness “Decolonizing Therapy for Black Folk” collective. They specialize in applying radical healing methods, including liberating innate emotions that fuel passion for social change, in individual, group, and organizational settings. They also provide consultation for professionals and organizations on mental wellness care for Queer folx, polyamorous relationship counseling, and supporting kink and sexual healing. Randall loves their queer, poly, pansexual identity and enjoys sharing these perspectives in hopes of growing more spaces that actively serves their community.

Erin Reed (she/her) is a transgender journalist based in Washington, D.C.. She tracks LGBTQ+ legislation around the United States for her subscription newsletter, ErinInTheMorning.com. Her work has been cited by the AP, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many more major media outlets. You can follow her on twitter and tiktok @ErinInTheMorn.

Emily Scott (she/her/hers) is a Lutheran Pastor and author, who believes that Christian practice holds out rich possibilities that call us to reach out across boundaries in love, learn through discomfort, and build relationships that bring God’s realm close. Queer and nonbinary, she is committed to building communities of faith that dismantle fear and hate, affirm LGBTQ+ people, and confront racial injustice. Emily is the pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Dreams and Visions, two affirming congregations in Baltimore. She is the author of For All Who Hunger: Searching for Communion in a Shattered World. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Baltimore Banner, the Christian Century, and the Hopkins Review.