Former Navy Seal fights for acceptance of transgender people
It is fitting time for Kristin Beck, honorary emcee of Saturday’s benefit transgender fashion show.
"I prepared this dress for she and it's perfect! I am happy!" says Saenz, a fashion designer.
Beck – all 6-foot-3-inches of her in heels – is finally happy too.
Kristin Beck has known she was meant to be a woman since grade school, but her medals and the tattoo on her arm are reminders of life before: as Chris Beck -- a burly, bearded, U.S. Navy Seal.
"That was my life," she says. "I lived as a Navy Seal. I was a man--I did the best I could. It was always in there, and it was always trying to get out."
13 deployments and 20 years later, Beck finally retired and finally went public in 2011. She is now working for the Department of Defense in Florida and undergoing hormone treatments.
"I was like, okay this is it," she says. "So I put a dress on--one of my nice ones, put my makeup on, and one of my wigs, and went to work."
There was the initial shock, she explains, which gradually turned into acceptance. But Beck still gets stares and snickers, and has written a book called "Warrior Princess," trying to lobby for acceptance of transgendered people.
"For you to judge me on anything that you just see superficially, it's a shame," she says. "And I can't wait for the day that we can totally get past that as Americans."
For all the makeup on the outside, there is still a lot of pain inside for Beck. Her two teenage sons live with her ex-wife in Minnesota.
"I look forward to the day that we can hang out and just be. I'm still their dad, I'm still the same person," says Beck.
In general, Beck is uncomfortable with labels – except for designer ones.
"There's a lot of transgendered people in the military today," she says. "And they're working really hard and doing great things."
For tickets to the "Breaking the Cycle of Stigma Transfashion Show," click here.