|Birth name Christopher T. Beck|
Unit SEAL Team Six
|Name Kristin Beck|
Years of service 1990–2011
Other work Author
|Born June 21, 1966 (age 49) (1966-06-21) |
Allegiance United States of America
Rank Senior chief petty officer
Awards Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device Purple Heart Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Books Facing 30: Women Talk about Constructing a Real Life and Other Scary Rites of Passage
Similar People Chelsea Manning, Steny Hoyer, Brandon Tyler Webb, Beck, Shane Ortega
Service/branch United States Navy
Kristin beck joins the fighter and the kid
Kristin Beck (June 21, 1966) is a retired United States Navy SEAL who gained public attention in 2013 when she came out as a trans woman. She published her memoir in June 2013, Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL's Journey to Coming out Transgender, detailing her experiences.
- Kristin beck joins the fighter and the kid
- Ex Navy SEAL talks transgender journey
- Early life and education
- United States Navy
- Warrior Princess
- Lady Valor
- Congressional campaign
- Awards and decorations
Beck served in the U.S. Navy for twenty years and is the first openly transgender former U.S. Navy SEAL.
Ex-Navy SEAL talks transgender journey
Early life and education
Beck was christened Christopher T. Beck in June 1966 and grew up on a farm. As early as the age of five, she was drawn to feminine clothes and toys, but was encouraged to adopt masculine roles by her parents. Before transitioning, she married twice and has two sons from her first marriage. She recounts in her memoir how her gender dysphoria contributed to her inability to emotionally mature while being in a male body, adding conflict to her sexual identity, although she never really felt gay. Additionally, her duties as a U.S. Navy SEAL kept her on missions away from home, which distanced her from family members. Before enlisting in the United States Navy, Beck attended Virginia Military Institute from 1984 through 1987.
United States Navy
Beck served for 20 years in the U.S. Navy SEALs before her transition, taking part in 13 deployments, including seven combat deployments. She was a member of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU), a special counter-terrorism unit popularly called SEAL Team Six, and received multiple military awards and decorations, including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. She told Anderson Cooper she wanted to be a SEAL because they were the "toughest of the tough".
Beck retired from the Navy in 2011 and began transitioning by dressing as a woman. In 2013, she began hormone therapy, preparing herself for sex reassignment surgery. During an interview with Anderson Cooper in early June 2013, she stated that she never came out during her military career and that "No one ever met the real me". After coming out publicly in 2013 by posting a photo of herself as a woman on LinkedIn, she received a number of messages of support from her former military colleagues. Shortly after her retirement from DEVGRU and the US Navy, active DEVGRU members gave their support in person and among them one of the most decorated DEVGRU Team Leads from Seal Team Six's Red Team.
Beck co-wrote Warrior Princess with Anne Speckhard, a psychologist at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Speckhard was doing a study on resilience of the U.S. Navy SEALs, that is, the coping mechanisms employed by SEALs to deal with their intense job demands. Speckhard first met Beck at a counter-terrorism conference. After Beck agreed to discuss coping mechanisms, a follow-up meeting took place in a gay bar, with Beck now dressed in female attire, to Speckhard's surprise. A five-hour meeting led to Speckhard agreeing to help Beck write her life story.
In the book, Speckhard notes that Beck had a desire to die honorably "so that [she] wouldn't have to wrestle anymore with the emotional pain that stemmed from the lack of congruency between [her] gender identity and body". In her introduction to the book, Beck writes:
I do not believe a soul has a gender, but my new path is making my soul complete and happy...I hope my journey sheds some light on the human experience and most importantly helps heal the "socio-religious dogma" of a purely binary gender.
OutServe Magazine praised the book, calling it "one of the smartest and most important books of the year". The Huffington Post noted that while the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was repealed in 2011, the ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces still remained. Days before the release of Warrior Princess, Metro Weekly's Poliglot column reported that the Pentagon had celebrated LGBT Pride Month in a memo while avoiding mention of transgender military personnel; the Pentagon memo read in part: "We recognize gay, lesbian and bisexual service members and LGBT civilians for their dedicated service to our country." The Atlantic Wire said that the book could "lay the groundwork for even greater inclusion in the armed forces" and Salon stated that Beck's military credentials may "lead the Pentagon to revisit its policy against trans service members". While restrictions on sexual orientation were lifted in 2010-2011, restrictions on gender identity remained in place due to Department of Defense regulations until 2016, when the Obama administration ended the ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.
Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, a documentary, aired on CNN on September 4, 2014. Earlier during LGBT Pride Month on June 18, 2014 at the Defense Intelligence Agency, she received a plaque from retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn when he led the DIA as its Director.
In August 2015, CNN said that Beck was running for Congress to represent Maryland's 5th Congressional District. Beck finished second behind Representative Steny Hoyer in the Democratic primary election on April 26, 2016.