A Chat With The Secretary by Kimi Cole

| Oct 19, 2015
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Kimi Cole

Kimi Cole

The inspiration for this article began recently when my cellphone rang.

Voice on the other end: “Hi Kimi, this is Hillary Clinton. Thank you for taking my call.”

But this story doesn’t begin there.

I figured out very early in my transition that the transgender community occupies a minuscule percentage of society in general. In order to effect significant change in the areas of education, increased awareness, and public acceptance, it became very obvious that attracting allies would be a huge component moving forward, to create the highest possible standard of living for transgender individuals. And if I only approached people personally, it could easily give the impression that I was merely seeking to further my own interests, rather than to promote situations for the good of an entire segment of society.

Raising awareness would require a much larger army than just myself and my closest friends in the transgender community. In a word, it was time to go recruiting. The goal was very simple: speak to anybody, anywhere, anytime, whenever there is an opportunity or somebody is willing to listen and learn what being transgender means. REALLY MEANS!

My first step was to get involved in community activities, to become familiar with events and people, and determine who the supporting players might be in the quest to raise awareness of the trans community, in order that ignorance and poor treatment could eventually be replaced with acceptance and generally higher quality of life.

It also became very obvious that positive interactions with legislators would be a key factor in helping situations to improve.

Beginning on the local level, there were people who, although kind of heart and with the best intentions, still revealed a complete lack of understanding regarding what it means to be transgender. Getting the word “transgender” increasingly into public discussion is a priority, in order for the condition to no longer be perceived as an anomaly, but rather just another natural variation in the spectrum of humanity.

This will require us to not only speak for ourselves, but to enlist the voices of others outside of the transgender community who also share our human values supporting fairness and quality-of-life.

The list of people in my audience has grown to include legislators, educators, administrators, medical professionals, other outreach organizations, students and law enforcement, to name a few.

Back to the recent phone call — my conversation with Secretary Clinton continued for approximately ten minutes. We discussed ongoing LGBT education and encouraging more people to vote. She acknowledged her appreciation for an article I’d shared in The New York Times, as well as my willingness to participate recently on a Northern Nevada LGBT panel with openly out former NBA player Jason Collins. I mentioned how important it will be moving forward to have leaders at all levels who are willing to be part of positive, affirming public conversations.

It was as real and down-to-earth as any conversations I have with friends on a regular basis. And I’m quite hopeful this will not be the last of our discussions.

“Thank you, Kimi.”

“Thank you, Madam Secretary.”

About Kimi Cole:

Kimi moved to Reno, Nevada with her family in 1956, where she grew up and attended local schools, UNR, Reno and TMCC. A business opportunity drew her to the Carson Valley in 1990, where she has lived and worked since. Kimi has four adult children and 8 grandchildren.

In 2009, Kimi decided she could no longer remain politically passive, with so many challenges facing the US and the world. She jumped in with both feet and became very active with OFA during the 2012 Obama Campaign. She was then elected Chair of Douglas Democrats in March 2013, then subsequently re-elected to her second term as Chair in March 2015.

Additionally, working closely with PFLAG, an advocating outreach organization, Kimi has had experience presenting to educators, medical professionals and community service organizations.

She has worked with various legislators, seeking LGBT-positive improvements in areas of fair and equal treatment. 

Her committed goals are to inspire more active involvement of both local and rural voters, and to continue raising positive awareness of ALL diversity communities. 

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Politics


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