Monday, February 5, 2018

Who Is Kristin Beck? Why We Should Care




 
 Just last week, I watched a documentary entitled “Lady Valor:  The Kristin Beck Story,” released in 2014, at our local theatre.  The movie was preceded by Beck’s memoire Warrior Princess: A US. Navy Seal’s Journey to Coming Out Transgender, co-written with psychologist Anne Spechard, Ph.D. in 2013.
Apparently, the movie was filmed a few months after Anderson Cooper’s AC360 piece on Beck was aired.  I missed that show as well.
Kristin Beck’s story is still timely.  Starting out in life in 1966 as Christopher T. Beck in a Baptist family, Christopher graduates from Virginia Military Institute in 1987.  He spent twenty years as a member of the elite Special Forces Navy SEALS on SEAL Team 1 as well as United States Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team 6).  Highly decorated with a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal with a “V” for Valor, among other medals, he retired in 2011 with the rank of Senior Chief and continued high-level clearance work for the U.S. government and the Pentagon.
Beck did thirteen deployments from 1991 and 2011 while he had a wife and two children. While fighting for America, he drowned out the noise in his head about his identity.   In 2013, Chris Beck came out as transgender on LINKEDIn and lives life as Kristin Beck.
Kristin Beck tours the country giving speeches as a fighter for justice and equality in the military. She is a fighter for transgender acceptance. “It shouldn’t take courage to be yourself,” she confirms. This is her new mission that she states is even harder than serving in the military.  Beck points out that often transsexuals hide out in the military as she did. 
Beck states in the movie that his recent fight for equality is “mentally more rigorous” than serving in the military. She has received hate mail, even death threats, and has lost close friends because of her decision to transition.  This loss hurt her, but her goal is to be Kristen Beck, and raise awareness so others can be themselves as well.  She lost in Maryland’s primary Democratic election to represent the 5th Congressional district in 2016.
Her sister is interviewed in the movie as is her one brother who states that he “never saw girly in him.” Yet at a young age, Christopher would feign illness and stay home and put on his sister’s clothes that felt comfortable.  At age five, he was steered away from feminine toys.  Her mother and two other siblings would not be interviewed for the movie.  “Our family is a work in progress,” she says.
A good marksman, Kristin was seen in the movie as an instructor wearing a skirt, same attire for her VMI reunion.  She doesn’t want to look like Barbie, and says you don’t need surgeries to make you whole.
She is particularly concerned with the transgender teen community that has a high suicide rate and Trump’s temporary military ban of transsexuals in the military.  “There are some very qualified transsexuals in the military who can’t be replaced and their contracts shouldn’t be broken.”  Just as I fought for “liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness,” I’m now fighting for my pursuit of happiness, to be a full human being as well as for the transgender community.”