A new book published over the weekend tells the story of a Navy SEAL who suppressed his sexuality for years in order to make it undetected as someone who identified as a woman.
In "Warrior Princess", Kristin Beck--formerly Chris Beck--talks about the decades she spent concealing who she really was in order to train as a SEAL and battle through special operations.
"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," says the book, which was co-written by Anne Speckhard.
After retiring just a few months before Osama bin Laden was killed, Kristin said she was free to begin hormone therapy and start down the path towards the life she always felt she was meant for. But having been in the Navy meant fear of backlash from the men she'd called her brothers for so many years, and writing a book detailing time spent on classified missions--including pictures--is a rare choice for someone formerly in the service. Many write under pseudonyms.
But to her surprise, Kristine received a bounty of support from her fellow officers, and included accounts of messages in the book. One friend wrote, " ... I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that Kris has all the support and respect from me that Chris had ... and quite possibly more. While I'm definitely surprised, I'm also in amazement at the strength you possess and the courage necessary to combat the strangers and 'friends' that I'm guessing have reared their ugly heads prior to and since your announcement."
Indeed, it takes a lot of courage to go public for an average citizen; for someone who spent decades as a bearded "man's man" in the Navy SEAL program, it's particularly daunting. Even after the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, it's a difficult journey for someone in the LGBT community to come out, and transgender individuals are still banned from military service.
In the book, Speckhard writes that Chris was "didn't feel he was gay. But he also didn't feel he was a man, so he didn't really know how to negotiate a sexual relationship whilst in a man's body. He was lost—with no maps, no compass, and no guide."
Image: Advanced Press