Home Women's Articles Getting to know Kendra Carlton, CNA

Getting to know Kendra Carlton, CNA

photo: Courtesy of Kendra Carlton
photo: instagram.com/sunserveftl

This past February 13th, the City of Wilton Manors, FL and the Community Affairs Advisory Board recognized community members, Kendra Carlton, CNA, and Detective Frantz Petitpapa as its Black History Month Honorees. “…we recognize that such heroes live among us and a call for nominations for honorees for Black History Month resulted in the nomination of Kendra Carlton, CNA, wherein said nomination notes, Kendra as an accomplished and respected professional has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the welfare of our senior community at SunServe’s Noble A. McArtor Senior Center with exceptional care, leadership, and advocacy. Kendra, an out and proud Black transgender woman, has not only made significant contributions to our senior community, but is also an inspiration to those navigating their own unique personal journey. Kendra’s nomination also notes that in recognizing Kendra during Black History Month we “celebrate diversity, resilience, and the positive impact she makes within the broader community and the unique perspective she brings to the narrative of Black History,” read part of Kendra’s proclamation. Next year, make sure to celebrate Kendra Carlton’s Day!

Kendra, a trans woman is also part of Sunserve, as part of the Senior Center’s Nursing Team. A Florida native, her early life was very difficult due to her father. She left her home at 16 and “didn’t contact family until I was 24 as Kendra.” In 2013, she received her associate degree in social science and became a Nursing Assistant. Currently, she lives in South Florida with her husband and four dogs.

Do you have any men/women LGBT icons who have left a mark on you and/or motivated you to be part of an LGBT organization?

To be honest, no. Growing up I had no idea who or what LGBT was. Coming from a African American family, this wasn’t talked about, but my father did think thatch could beat it out of me, didn’t work.

How did the opportunity to be part of Sunserve come about for you? Was it something you looked for or did it find you?

In 2008 I was looking to work for a health care facility that work with the LGBT community and that’s I found SunServe. Worked from 2008 to 2011, left got a degree & came back in 2017.

photo: instagram.com/sunserveftl

What did you see as your biggest challenges when you first started with Sunserve as part of the Senior Center’s Nursing Team?
None, it was the first job that allowed me to be me. They based my employment only on my skills & education not the 6-foot-tall female in front of them.

Congratulations on Kendra Carlton Day, proclamation by City of Wilton Manors during Black History Month! What inspired you to take a leadership role for LGBT Seniors and how do you feel about your accomplishments?

Thank you very much. In June of 2019, my husband took me to New York for World Pride Day. By accident who came across the Transgender Parade, my life was forever changed. I saw every shade of me, from the young to the old. I broke down & cried because at that moment I knew they saw us. Called my boss Lisa Peters crying uncontrollably & told her, “Today I know they see us”. That’s when I became a fighter for LGBT seniors.

photo: Courtesy of Kendra Carlton

“A few years ago, I would have never been allowed to hold a job in the str8 world as a Trans woman.”

 

 

 

 

As part of the Trans community, too. In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing the Trans community today, and how is Sunserve and/or yourself addressing them?

With out a doubt it’s the noise from the Republicans. The Governor has put a target on the backs of every LBGT person in America. SunServe reaches out to the community to let them know that we can change things, but we have to vote. Let our voices be heard.

What advice would you give to other trans women who aspire to take on leadership roles within LGBT non-profit organizations?

Know your worth and be comfortable in your own skin. Nothing looks better than a confident woman.

Last but definitely not least, this coming March 31st, we observe Trans Day of Visibility. How far has the Trans community come and how far do you have to go to reach the next goal as a community?

The Trans community has come a long way. A few years ago, I would have never been allowed to hold a job in the str8 world as a Trans woman. Yet we have so far to go, the laws have been directed towards taking away the little rights we have, and I say “Hell No.” We all must fight to ensure the further for all Trans.

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