WOW, where do I start with this story other than saying: “God has Me here for a reason”. There has been so many times I would be dead or killed right now due to work or just by helping someone in need.  So, to start this story off I need to go back before I transition, back in the mid 70’s when I worked for an alarm company.  I worked the midnight shift until 8:00 am responding to some of the alarms or trouble shooting depending on their status or if we had keys to the establishment.

There had been times in the three years working with this one alarm +company when responding to alarms I would have walked in on a burglar or that they had just left the scene.  There was even a time after responding to a business to reset the alarm that the next day a report was made that the safe was taken.  The burglar(s) came through the wall next door and either were still there or came back after I left. The last and really close call was when I took off to be with my ex-wife, whose mother had died on a Tuesday. On that Friday a co-worker who covered for me and a police officer were shot and killed responding to an alarm. Going to my co-worker’s funeral the following week, felt like I was going to my own. While carrying the casket with his body was like carrying my body. Now looking back at that time, God allowed me to get married to my ex-wife, so that I would not go to work that week. My ex-mother in law’s death was a reason for me to live.  My ex and I were only married for six months, and I now believe that is why she was a part of my life for a short time.

Years later in October 1, 2010 I transition full time as a woman, because after 40 years and wandering no more I knew then who I am.  Later November 17, 2012 I gave my first speech at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Event and have been speaking ever since to other Transgender people to encourage them in living a wonderful life-.  I also speak to non-transgender people to help them understand who we are as Transgender people trying to live a happy life.

In February of 2017 I stopped to help at an accident at 5:45 am, pitch dark on the beltway in Maryland. While trying to retrieve some emergency lights from the trunk of my car, I just happen to look back and moved off to the side of my car.  A car came within seconds and a foot from the rear of my car and hitting me. 

I never thought I would be living a life today speaking and being an advocate to the Transgender community, but here I am. I feel that God has me on a path, to help others. When I transitioned, I really wanted to live a normal life as a woman just being happy. God knows my heart, when I have always said, “I never want to forget where I’ve come from and that is why I speak.

I have been speaking with police, fire, military, medical, schools, universities, and at conferences.  I did a TEDx Talk Asbury Park, NJ, Podcast, StoryCorps, Armed Forces Television Network, etc. Everyone I feel is here on this earth for a reason and I have changed lives. Have you tap into why you are here yet?  I know with all my heart why I am here.  

You can find me at or visit my personal website at  In my next article I’ll talk about “My Forth Year Having Gender Conformation”. Until then Shoot for the Moon and even if You Miss, You’ll Be Among the STARS!

Author Profile

Karen Kendra Holmes
Karen Kendra Holmes
Karen Kendra Holmes works for the Federal Government as a Safety Officer. Besides her full- time job with the Federal Government she is a part-time radio host on WPFW 89.3 FM on the “Inside Out LGBTQ Show” on WPFW 89.3 FM. She also writes a column for Baltimore OUTloud under the column called “Trans Lives”. Karen received the Engendered Spirit Award from Capital Pride on June 7, 2018. She also was a TEDx Speaker with TEDx Asbury Park, NJ on May 19, 2018. In April 2017 she received the “2017 Monica Roberts Advocacy Award”. She was selected in January 2017 by LGBTQ Nation as one of the “Top 50 Successful Transgender Americans You Need to Know”. In May of 2015, she was honored in a special edition among 41 other women from around the world in The Platform Magazine, for up and inspiring females who have made a difference with their platform and inspired others with their positive values towards others. In April 2014 she received the “Willis Greene Community Service Award” and the “Unsung Hero Award-Team” by the Corporation for National & Community Service. In October 2013 she received “Soldier of the Year”, out of the country, by the State Guard Association of the United States out of 24 states and 23 thousand soldiers. In December 2012 she received “NCO Soldier of the Year” by the Maryland State Guard Association and The Maryland Defense Force. She was selected in August 2012 by The International Women’s Leadership Association, "A Woman of Outstanding Leadership in the Business Owner Division".

With the Maryland Defense Force under the Maryland National Guards she was a Staff Sergeant with Force Protection, the Chaplain’s Unit as a Chaplain’s Assistance, Honor Guard, and MWR. She has been doing volunteer work with the American Red Cross for the National Capital Region since 2009 on the Disaster Action Team. For several years, she has been volunteering with Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs) in Prince George's County, MD, and also with the Medical Reserve Corps. She sits on the board for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Prince George's County, MD. Karen also use to sit on the board for DC Metro PFLAG working with the Transgender Community. She is now the chapter president of the Transgender Veterans Support Group (TVSG) for Maryland. Before Karen’s transitioned, she previously volunteered with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Park Police Prince George's County Division for 7 years, 5 of them as their President, and received several awards for her service, such as two Commander’s Awards and two Volunteer of the Year Awards. In December 2005 she received the Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for her outstanding work and leadership with Park Police Volunteer Association. She has her own side business called SafetyFirst DMV and is certified as an instructor through the National Safety Council (NSC). Karen believes whole heartedly in the importance of and Giving Back to her Community.