The Bloomberg School of Public Health held a symposium about violence against LGBT+ communities on Monday, Sept. 12. Speakers touched upon issues of homelessness among members of the LGBT+ community, gun violence, gun control and wider public health concerns like HIV/AIDS.
The Editorial Board commends the University for providing a venue for such an important conversation and for addressing these as threats to public health. Violence against underrepresented communities is all too prevalent now, and we hope that this symposium sparks a wider discussion about these problems.
We would also like to recognize the Office of LGBTQ Life’s hard work in creating an environment in which members of our community can feel safe. Through programs like peer mentoring and safe space training, this office is an important resource for Hopkins students.
At the seminar, Ava Pipitone, executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, said that about 60 percent of homeless people in the United States identify as LGBT+. This issue affects the entire city of Baltimore, including the areas around the various Hopkins campuses.
Pipitone also discussed the added difficulties of being a trans woman of color. In a city like Baltimore where racial tension is continually on center stage, it can be especially difficult to be a part of two marginalized communities.
According to the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, one in two transgender people will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The likelihood of this crime increases for non-white individuals: In 2009, 53 percent of all hate crimes against LGBT+ individuals were committed against people of color.
The Editorial Board believes that the University can use its influence to raise awareness of these crimes in Baltimore. The University can help to provide resources, expertise and assistance to the greater LGBT+ community of Baltimore as a whole. We believe the University should work toward improving the quality of life of LGBT+ individuals outside the University in the same way our school has helped its own students.
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