by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Under current regulations, the U.S. military does not allow Transgender people to serve in uniform. The 'T' was deliberately left out of the September 2011 end of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual service members. We now know that the repeal of that discriminatory law was incomplete in more ways than one. Aside from the continued denial of housing and other benefits for same-sex spouses, the community learned that the Department of Defense (DoD) was not going to budge on its policy that Transgender members of the community are barred from joining the armed forces.
The argument against Transgender service to country is as ridiculous as the tired rationales for barring Gay and Lesbian service: There really isn't a good reason for prohibiting Trans folks from defending our nation.
This week, however, detractors of Transgender inclusion in the ranks got a bombshell dropped on them when a former member of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs came out to say she's now a woman.
Kristin Beck, formerly Chris, served 20 years as a SEAL and fought on some of the most dangerous battlefields in the world, but after she left the service she realized she wasn't living the life she wanted.
'Chris really wanted to be a girl and felt that she was a girl and consolidated that identity very early on in childhood,' said Anne Speckhard, co-author of Beck's newly published autobiography, Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL's Journey to Coming Out Transgender (Advances Press).
A 'GUY'S GUY' IN BATTLE
Earlier this week, Speckhard told ABC News that Beck suppressed that secret for decades, however, through the trials of SEAL training and the harrowing missions that followed, growing a burly beard as she fought on the front lines of American special operations.
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who served on a different team than Beck, said that Beck's reputation in the SEALs was good, and that she was, by all appearances, the 'consummate guy's guy.'
Chris 'had considered living as the woman he felt himself to be for a very long time, but while he was serving as a SEAL he couldn't do it,' said Speckhard.
'For years Chris had turned off his sexuality like a light switch and lived as a warrior, consumed with the battle - living basically asexual. For Chris the other SEALs were brothers and in the man's-man warrior lifestyle, even if he had wanted to entertain sexual thoughts, there really was never any time to be thinking too much about sexuality,' the book says.
'NO MORE DISGUISES'
Beck's retirement in 2011 seemed the right time to go for it, says the book, to make his body match his identity - or at least start by dressing like a woman in his daily life.
Beck first announced her decision to friends online with the declaration 'No more disguises' and the book describes her going out to Gay bars in Florida as a woman.
Beck is currently on hormone therapy in preparation for sexual reassignment surgery.
In the book's preface, Beck says she wrote the book 'to reach out to all of the younger generation and encourage you to live your life fully and to treat each other with compassion ... [B]e good to each other, especially in your own backyard (whether it be high school or your community).
'There is a huge world out there and many adventures await you,' Beck continues. 'Live and be happy.'
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