A former member of SEAL Team 6 is promoting integration of transgender people in the military, The Washington Times reported
Kristin Beck, formerly Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beck, is a 20-year veteran with service that has included seven deployments and a transgender woman. Beck "has become the poster girl for a Pentagon effort to include transgenders" in the military, Bill Gertz of the Times wrote.
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She has been invited to speak about her service to the country and her new life at several high-profile military and Defense Intelligence Agency events, including appearances at the National Reconnaissance Office and at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the Times reported.
Her speeches, given as part of the intelligence agency's annual Pride Month events in June, come at a time when there is a growing call on a national level to allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, but she denies she's part of any official push to change the military's rules.
"I am speaking about being a 'human' and the value of people in the armed forces," she told the Times in an email. "I am giving them correct information instead of stereotypes and misguided information of the past."
In May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
said the prohibition on transgender people serving in the U.S. military "continually should be reviewed" and that he believes that "every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it."
Beck, the author of "Warrior Princess" and the subject of a CNN film, "Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story," said at an appearance at Hill Air Force Base on Thursday night that while she was a SEAL, she was "an angry beard guy, fighting in Iraq, Somalia, and other countries," The Standard Examiner reported.
She described being attacked in Tampa, Florida, while wearing women's clothing a few years ago.
"I’m not that person in magazines, I just look like a dude in a dress sometimes," she said. She woke up after being knocked unconscious to find four men kicking her.
"That’s not American," she told the Hill AFB audience, according to The Standard Examiner. "Why did that happen? It is heartbreaking that this is going on. This is what I defended for 20 years, and we can’t let this happen. I deserve that dignity and respect because that is what our country is about."
Not everybody agrees with Beck or with those pushing for transgender integration into the military.
An unnamed Pentagon official told the Times that he wants to know who is paying for Beck's speaking appearances, "especially in these trying fiscal times with reduction-in-force boards, selective early retirement boards, and early terminations for our enlisted ranks … someone is wasting money by mainstreaming a transgendered veteran?"
Beck told the Times that most of her speeches were not paid appearances, but her travel expenses have been reimbursed.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told the Times that the Pentagon’s push to included transgender individuals in the military is President Barack Obama's latest effort to deliver his political promises to special interest groups.
"Before President Obama imposes another extreme element of LGBT law, he should consider the consequences for the majority of men and women in uniform," Donnelly said. "They should not be forced to participate in an unprecedented social experiment that does nothing to strengthen our military."
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