Who Is Kristen Beck? Meet The Transgendered Navy SEAL Everyone Is Talking About

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Who Is Kristen Beck? Background, Activism & Facts About The Trans Navy Seal Speaking Out Against Trump
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“I’ve been Conan the Barbarian, and I’ve been Barbie. But both parts make up who I am.”

Just a little more than a year ago, Donald Trump carried the support of many in the LGBTQ community during his bid for the presidency. But just this morning, he dealt a devastating blow to those same people and guaranteed that the word “ally” will never be attached to his name or title again.

President Trump sent out a Tweet saying that due to “tremendous medical costs,” transgender people are no longer allowed to serve in the United States military in any capacity.

This news comes just one day after Republican lawmakers decided to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And now, it looks like even our soldiers are facing a similar crisis that will leave them without jobs, without pay, and without healthcare, despite their sacrifice and service to our country.

Many LGBTQ community members are speaking up and refusing to let this transgression stand, and one of the most notable names speaking out against it is Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the United States Navy and the first openly transgender U.S. Navy Seal. Beck's name has been splashed across headlines in recent years as she has gone public with her transition from male to female and the difficulties she's faced along the way.

After hearing about the transgender ban, the 50-year-old retired senior chief petty officer had some words to share with the President of the United States via comments shared with Business Insider.

“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” the military veteran told Trump, a man whose only involvement with the United States military was dodging the draft five times. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.”

Beck is not alone in her outrage on this subject, but it is important to understand that she is a powerful voice in both the trans and military communities, and her expertise on the potential fallout for American soldiers and military efforts has been garnered through hands on experience. She has literally fought for both her country and for the right to be comfortable in her own skin — a right that is now being directly challenged by Trump’s decision.

“Being transgender doesn’t affect anyone else,” Beck reminded the Donald. “We are liberty's light. If you can’t defend that for everyone that’s an American citizen, that’s not right.”

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This horrific ban comes only a few years after former President Obama’s decision to overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, which had ensured that while closeted gay, lesbian, and bisexual people would be protected from discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, they would not be allowed to serve if they came “out.” Trans people were also not allowed to join the military for many years.

Beck believes that Trump's announcement will mean far more than lost jobs for trans people in the military, though what those actual effects will remain to be seen.

Here’s everything you need to know about Kristin Beck, her background, her activism, her family, her service to this country... and why we need to listen when she speaks out against Trump’s transgender military ban:

1. Kristin Beck was born a man but has been openly living as a woman since 2013.

Kristin Beck was born as Christopher T. Beck in June of 1966 on a rural farm in Pennsylvania but was drawn to feminine clothing and toys from as early as age five. Her parents convinced her to develop a more masculine form of herself, which she says “contributed to her inability to emotionally mature,” because she did not feel at home in her own body.

It wasn’t until after her retirement from the military in 2011 that she began to wear feminine clothes regularly. She began hormone therapy just two years later to prepare herself for sex reassignment surgery but ultimately had to stop due to their damage caused to her liver. She fought long and hard to accept that she is still herself — just living in a way that makes her feel comfortable in her own skin.

“I’ve been Conan [the Barbarian], and I’ve been Barbie. But both parts make up who I am.”

2. Kristin has been married two times and has two children from her previous marriage.

Though her marriage to her first wife did not work out, Kristin and her second wife, Heather Stott Beck, an active duty Air Force veteran, currently live on a farm together in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Together, this military couple runs Valor Ranch LLC, where they raise Angus cattle, horses, and chickens while also farming hay and oats.

The two met at a Pentagon social event and began dating. Shortly thereafter, they fell in love and got engaged. They have been married since 2015, and are absolutely adorable as a couple!

3. Kristin is a heavily decorated military hero.

Being in the U.S. Navy Seals is a tough job, and Kristin, then known as “Chris,” went through war-time horrors that still haunt her to this day. She served for twenty years and took part in thirteen deployments, seven of which were combat deployments, including a period of time spent in Afghanistan, where a rocket exploded beside her on her forty-second birthday. This doesn't even begin to include the hundreds of missions she was involved in during this time.

Beck was a part of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, which most people would recognize better by its more common name, SEAL Team Six, aka, some of the toughest, most terrifying soldiers that America has to offer.

During her time in the military, she was given multiple awards, commendations, and medals, including both the Bronze Star for “heroic achievement” and the Purple Heart, which is given to soldiers who are wounded in battle.

She didn't just serve her time; she actively fought for her country and still does to this day.

4. She has also been involved in politics and even ran for Congress.

In 2015, Kristin Beck ran against incumbent Representative Steny Hoyer, but unfortunately did not win the election. She even applied for a role in Donald Trump’s administration, though it was obvious she has little love for the man, as she is often vocal about his statements regarding the military and trans people on Twitter.

Beck has said that she wanted to make herself a visible icon within the Trump administration in order to remind him and his staff people that some people just go through their lives a bit differently.

“I’ll carry their coffee if that’s what they want — just so I’m there. Just so I’m visible and I exist and they see a veteran who is going through life who maybe they don’t understand.”

5. She often speaks out publicly in order to advance her advocacy efforts.

She's been interviewed by just about every major media outlet you can think of, such as she was in this conversation with LGBTQ activist Anderson Cooper.

Beck also co-write a memoir titled Warrior Princess with psychologist Anne Speckhard, and a movie about her life, Lady Valor, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim.

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