Hello Everyone, my name is Karen Kendra Holmes and I am so excited to have my column and I welcome you all to “Trans Lives”. Within my column I will be talking about various topics that I want to share and yours if you care to share with other readers. I want to shed lots of faith, hope, and love that we give respect and earn the respect that we so deserve. From each article written I want you all to know that I have you each in my heart and you have a close friend in me. I just want you to know “I am the Voice” who cares about you all and I will do whatever I can to express and show my feelings.
If you care to send me something for advice, please do and let me know if you want me to use you name or not. Keep one thing in mind, if you send me something to post, it just might help the next reader. I have always said that our journeys and transitions are like DNA – very close to each other, but different.
The opening about me by Baltimore OUTloud on my journey was just a start of who I am, where I came from, and where I am going too in the future. In 2015 I was honored in Platform magazine. I was among 31 other women from around the world honored. Before I transitioned full-time on October 1st, 2010, I told all my volunteer groups I had something to tell them. All of them gave me this funny look and said, “What do you have to tell me”? When I told them I was transgender, they all said the same thing, “I thought you were going to tell me you were leaving the organization”. That told me that they all valued what I brought to their organization. So, because of my platform to them, I want you my readers to build yourself a platform so that you will hear the same thing one day.
Ever since I transitioned, I have been so happy about who I am and who I’ve become. I live my life the way I want to, not letting anyone take that away from me. We transition to be happy and because of the way society treats us we become unhappy to the point with some of us committing suicide. If you ever feel that way, please reach out to someone. We care, I care, and I am here for you, and you are not alone.
The title for this column this time is “My Journey Rolls On”. I’m learning things from my past and keeping my eye open to learn new things for my future. Only you can control and change your stars. Take the steps and the chance that will make the difference in your life. When I did my TEDx Asbury Park talk, I wasn’t sure I could do it, because I’ve seen so many good speakers during my five-minute audition. Even though I have done public speaking since 2012, I knew this was the big one. I took a chance to tell my story, and with the help of some fantastic TEDx coaches and a book that they sent me, I made a dream come true. To tell your personal story to hundreds and then thousands of people around the world, you wonder if you can do it. The way I got though it was being open to people helping me to succeed and praying to God. You see everyone is not after you, and there are lots of good people out there who want to help you succeed and they believe in you. With their help and love that I felt from them my journey just keeps rolling on.
I want to thank all cisgender family, friends, co-workers, and professional experts who want to help educate people on who we are. Please keep one thing in mind and that is to have us at the table, at meetings, at conferences. We are not what you see on the “Jerry Springer Show”; we are police officers, firefighters, medics, doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians, teachers, models, actors, and most of all military soldiers, and the list goes on. This is our lives and we live this journey 24/7, and we can tell our own story better than you can. For more about me go to my personal website Kkholmes.com. Please check out my TEDx Asbury Park on YouTube or just YouTube my name Karen Kendra Holmes to see or hear other talks of mine. My next article will be “My First Day Back to Work”. See you next time and remember one thing: 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.