Welcome back to Trans Lives. It’s been a while since I have written to you all and I miss you. COVID really put a damper on life for us all. In December 2021, after having all my shots including my booster, I still tested positive with COVID. My time with COVID was very mild and I tested negative after a week.
The question I ask myself lately is whose path will I follow, mine or God’s? Well, that question has been answered, and I know whose path I will follow. I feel life’s journey and sometimes is never the way you plan. That was the case for me and I am glad I listen and followed God’s plan. I just wanted to live a normal life being happy for who I am.
As Tony, I did a lot of volunteer work with the Red Cross, particularly their community emergency response team, and retired senior volunteer program. After going from Tony to Karen I never thought about doing any kind of volunteer work with the transgender community. Well, that is when God spoke to my heart and said to me, “It is not about you anymore.” I needed to help and serve my own people. Since my transition in 2012 I started speaking to other trans folks, non-binary, and non-trans people, and helping trans people to understand what life could be when and if they transition. With non-transgender people I want to educate them on who transgender people are and that we are not what you see on the Jerry Springer show. In 2021 I partnered up with the community relationship service department under the Department of Justice as a subject-matter expert, speaking to law enforcement officers all over the country. The program aims to “Build a bridge between law enforcement and the transgender community.” I have done podcasts, cable TV shows, and spoken at conferences, training events, and for videos that law enforcement can use for training. I’ve seen first-hand how these efforts change minds. After two trans women were murdered in Maryland, the Prince George’s county police sought me out for help. Working with the Greenbelt public library, we came up with the Butterfly Project, aiming to help transgender sex workers and other trans people with resume building, roll-playing for a job interview, operating a computer, GED, dress for success, and more. People from all walks of life are now helping out.
I now host my own TV show called “The Karen Kendra Holmes Show.” On the show I will be talking about trans issues, politics, fashion, hair, etc., and will welcome guests. The show is now airing in Richmond, Virginia, on Verizon and Comcast. It will be airing on local TV stations in the future in New York, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. For now see some of the shows on my Facebook Live feed every Friday between 2 and 2:30 pm.
Some of my trans friends have asked me why I keep doing what I do for the trans community when I am now a full woman. I tell them, my saying and always has been, “Never forget where you come from,” and do it because it is in your heart, not because you want something in return. Most of all, my life inspiration is not to have more, but to be more. t
You can find my TED talk when you Google my name. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my personal website at KKHolmes.com In my next article I’ll talk about training law enforcement. Until then, “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars!”
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.