Community Outreach Committee Chair
Ms. Molly Kester is the Senior Warden for the Lighthouse – St. Nicholas Episcopal Community Church and Director of the Mississippi Coast Transgender Alliance; she is the President and current board member of the Coast Equality Council and former President of the Mississippi Rainbow Center. Although she only became involved in advocating for the LGBT+ community in January of 2015, she became the President of the MS Rainbow Center in July of 2015. She built the MSRC into a viable resource for the LGBT+ community not only on the coast but for the state as a whole. She has become a very visible and outspoken leader for LGBT+ equality. Taking on this leadership role she has been involved in numerous groups and organizations at the local, state and national levels which includes the HRC, ACLU, GLAAD, MIRA, NAACP, Campaign for Southern Equality, MS Rising Coalition, One Flag 4 All, Steps Coalition, CAYA, and Lighthouse Community Church. While still president of the MSRC she took on the role as Vice President of the Coast Equality Council using her leadership knowledge to help lead and develop the council into a valuable part of the LGBT+ community and a resource for all. Ms. Molly was invited and is an active member of the ACLU-TEAP Team representing Mississippi’s transgender community. She was awarded the ACLU of Mississippi’s 2016 Freedom of Speech & Expression Award the first one to ever receive this award.
During her tenure as President of the MS Rainbow Center she has been an instructor for the Department of Justice for their Transgender and Law Enforcement Training that was held on the Coast and in Jackson which was sponsored by the ACLU. She has conduct community outreach at such events as Keesler AFB’s Diversity Day, University of Southern Mississippi Long Beach’s Jazz Festival, and Biloxi’s Halloween on the Green. She was involved in or responsible for numerous events such as the HRC Transgender Survey Party, Campaign for Southern Equality’s Mississippi Mini Conference, Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil, Rallies against HB1523, Pulse Orlando Vigil, and GLAAD’s panel discussion and fellowship dinner here on the Coast. She was instrumental in the creation of the Lighthouse Community Church. She has hosted several Transgender VIP Shopping Parties at Torrid of Gulfport and conducted transgender support group and individual meetings helping local transgender people with transitioning issues. She had the honor of being a part of the ACLU’s We Are All Mississippi video. She has not only become a resource for LGBT issues to the media and non-profit groups but for the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Ms. Molly was born in Darlington, S.C. spending her early childhood in Beaufort, S.C. until moving to Cleveland, Al as a young teen. Graduating High School there in 1980 and joining the Air Force the following year. She served in several states and overseas locations finally retiring in 2001 in Shreveport, LA to become a broadcast engineer in the civilian sector. Moving to the Mississippi Coast in 2006 to take the job of Director of Engineering / IT Manager for what is now iHeartMedia. Leaving iHeartMedia in January of 2019 she took the position of Facilities/EVS Assistant Manager for Harrah’s Gulf Coast. In May of 2019 she moved to Harrah’s IT Department to take on a management role in the Market Engineer III position. She has three grown sons and six grandchildren that live in the Shreveport area of Louisiana. She is a transgender woman who has lived as her true self for more than 6 years now. She has chosen to live a very visible life in hopes of helping current transgender individuals and inspiring future transgender people.