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Queer Talk: Former Navy Seal Kristin Beck Comes Out as Transgender


The just released memoir – Warrior Princess – is the story of the transgender journey of high school football player and seven combat deployments veteran Chris Beck, to retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck. Among other things, it’s a good time to remember that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, did not include transgender servicemembers. They are still barred.

The Atlantic has the story.

The Latest Navy SEAL Book Could Impact the Military’s Transgender Rules

Beck describes how, over the course of her 20 year military career, including thirteen deployments over the globe, she slowly became more and more aware that was she meant to live life as a woman — a vexing and often tormenting realization for a long-time member of an elite all-male unit that went on to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. Beck, who identified as a man (and went by the name Chris) while in the Navy, explains that she decided to undergo hormonal therapy some time after retiring in early 2011, and eventually came out to colleagues by posting a picture of herself dressed as a woman on LinkedIn earlier this year …

Beck was surprised at the support she received from “former SEAL buddies.” Among those:

‘I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that Kris has all the support and respect from me that Chris had … and quite possibly more. While I’m definitely surprised, I’m also in amazement at the strength you possess and the courage necessary to combat the strangers and ‘friends’ that I’m guessing have reared their ugly heads prior to and since your announcement.’

According to the book description at Amazon, there was definitely some “ugly” stuff involved in the long transition.

This is the journey of a girl in a man’s body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society’s strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one’s own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess.

Sharing her story is obviously a major decision by Beck, and it makes a major statement to the military, a statement others have made earlier, though each, of course, is a unique story. From Towleroad

The book is expected to have an effect on military policy toward transgender servicemembers, who are banned from entering military service.

Just last month, the Department of Defense recognized for the first time officially that transgender veterans have served in a uniformed capacity when they reflected the gender identification of activist and veteran Autumn Sandeen.

At her Twitter account, Kristin describes herself this way: “Retired U.S. Navy Seal. Currently an author, activist, public speaker, transgender female living a new life of hope and freedom.” No doubt her book fills in a lot of details, but that brief summation is compelling in itself.

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6 Responses to Queer Talk: Former Navy Seal Kristin Beck Comes Out as Transgender

  1. Taylor Marsh June 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Spectacularly heroic story, Joyce.

    Howie Klein cracked me up today with this tweet: Bush couldn’t do the job but how awesome is it that a kick-ass tranny killed bin-Laden!

    • Joyce Arnold June 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      Oh, I’m so glad you share that tweet :) Beck didn’t actually kill bin-Laden, but he’d only recently retired and left the team that did.

      Once again the power of “putting a face on” what so many people know only as a label or generality is crucial, and courageous.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter June 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    W-O-W!!!! There are simply NO WORDS to discribe the courage and determination required to do this!!!!!!! I am speechless…abso-freakin-lutely speechless and in awe of her.

    • Joyce Arnold June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      I had the same sort of response, sec, when trying to figure out what to write about this :)

  3. fairmindedindependent June 4, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Great article Joyce Arnold. There are many, many LGBT members of the military that served this country and had to hide who they are. Bravo Kristin Beck !!

    • Joyce Arnold June 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Kristin Beck is amazing. Hopefully we’ll hear more from her.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong