Kristin Beck, formerly Chris Beck, is the transgender Navy SEAL whose memoir Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming Out as Transgender is out today.
Here’s what you should know about her.
1. As Chris Beck, Kristen Served in the Navy SEALs and SEAL Team Six for 20 Years
According to Beck’s book and the numerous profiles done on her since she came out as transgender, when Kristin went by Chris she served for 20 years as an E-8 as a U.S. Navy SEAL and one tour on SEAL Team Six. Before her time in the military, Kristin describes her characterizes her childhood as “lower middle class” and “on a farm in the middle of nowhere.” ABC news also describes the young Chris Beck as a “man’s man–a footballer player” and “avid motorcyclist.”
2. She Served Through 13 Deployments and Won a Number of Medals
Under the great burly beard worn on the new book’s jacket, Kristen as Chris, fought through “13 deployments, including seven combat deployments and ultimately earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.”
3. She Started Her Transition in 2011 After Retirement From the Military
Kristin’s new book begins, “After I retired from the SEALs I Started a journey into unknown territory for myself.” According to The Atlantic, Kristen started undergoing hormone therapy and physically transforming into a woman after her full retirement from the SEAls in 2011 after 20 years of service.
4. She Came Out on Her Linkedin Account.
The Atlantic story about Kristin verifies that after deciding to undergo hormone therapy Kristin came out as transgender to her colleagues when she changed her Linkedin profile picture to that of her dressed as a woman and changed the profile name from “Chris Beck” to “Kristin Beck.”
5. On February 9, 2013 a Press Release Introduced the World to Kristin Beck
The Opening Changes of Beck’s new book presents the press release announcing her transgender identity to the military at large. Dated February 9, 2013, the release lists Kristin’s personal and Military accomplishments and announces that after she “respectfully remained silent regarding her gender identity” she now will be “afforded the freedom to live in a manner consistent with her life-long gender awareness as a female.”
6. She is Active on Twitter
Beck has an active twitter account @healinggrounds where she has thus far tweeted progress on her book and encouraging words to both LGBT people and soldiers alike.
7. The Military Still Will Not Allow Transgender Soldiers to Openly Serve
Although many celebrate the triumph seen with the 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, there are still soldiers, like Kristin Beck, who are forced to hide their identities to serve in the military. As of now, soldiers can still be immediately discharged for being openly transgender, or what the military could diagnose as. “Gender Identity Disorder,” according to C-SPAN.
8. Kristin is an Active LGBT Advocate
“You don’t have to be a SEAL to be a hero, we all become heroes in our own backyards by treating EVERYONE with dignity and compassion.”-Beck
— Kristin Beck (@healinggrounds) June 4, 2013
Part of the reason for Beck’s new book is to advocate for the repeal of the law that bars transgender individuals from openly serving in the military and to raise awareness of suicide among transgender individuals. The prologue to her book says that she is, “mournful of the great loss due to gender identity in America; the suicide rate amongst Trans is nearly 50% compared to societies norm of around 2%. THIS IS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THIS BOOK.”
The prevention of suicide among both transgender individuals and combat veterans is also an something Beck has tweeted about.
9. Her New Memoir Warrior Princess Just Came Out
You can currently find Beck’s book on Amazon where the book is currently available in both hard cover and Kindle editions. The book was published June 1, 2013 and has thus far received praise from numerous LGBT organizations.
10. She Now Works for the Office of the Secretary of Defense
According to both her Linkedin account and the introduction of her book, Beck now works for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Rapid Reaction Technology Office.