Exclusive: Navy SEAL Kristin Beck – Jenner can ‘save lives instead of delaying’

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I had the honor of seeing Kristin Beck, a retired Navy SEAL and transgender activist, speak at Virginia Military Institute last night. Kristin, a VMI graduate and international speaker, made headlines in 2013 when she became the first Navy SEAL to come out as transgender. Kristin’s background as a SEAL is impressive and impeccable. She made 13 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a special counter-terrorism squad called SEAL Team Six. She is the recipient of a purple heart, bronze star, and multiple other awards and decorations. She was working at the Pentagon when she transitioned, which led to her losing her job. She now travels and does speaking engagements, and she does it spread the word and save lives, not for personal gain. (She didn’t say this so directly, nor did she list her accomplishments. She was very down to earth and focused on her message of acceptance.)

After coming out, Kristin was interviewed by Anderson Cooper. Her story was made into a CNN documentary called Lady Valor. (It’s available on Netflix on demand and I highly recommend it.) She’s a frequent guest on CNN, and told the crowd at VMI that she’s turned down two reality shows and that she regularly says no to “brain candy” interviews. (I guess she’s talking about celebrity outlets. *raises hand*)

Kristin’s message was one of understanding, tolerance and taking time to assess a situation and see a person’s humanity before acting. One of her stories from combat involved deciding in just a few quick seconds not to shoot an armed enemy. She had a gut feeling that she should not shoot or detain a man with a gun whom she encountered during a rooftop sweep. A few days later, the same man ran up to her in a bazaar and she reflexively reached for her gun. Luckily, she had an interpreter with her who told her that the man was thanking her for saving his life. He then hugged her. It turned out that the armed man whose life she had spared was just a carpet salesman. He went on to give her valuable information about other targets.

As a military veteran and a patriot, Kristin told us that fighting for equality and freedom meant fighting for everyone, not some groups at the exclusion of others. She also likened being a transgender woman to having a certain eye color, it’s just who she is.

One of the VMI cadets (students) asked Kristin what she would say about Bruce Jenner that she didn’t say in a recent segment on CNN. She said that he’s delaying his announcement for financial gain, basically.

Even back in the 70s Bruce was very commercial. The thing I would say to Bruce is ‘stop recording’. He’s come out a little bit and he’s given a little information, he’s getting paid, holding back information… there are 3 kids killing themselves every day. Bruce can be a hero. I see someone who has the opportunity to have a thousand times bigger platform than I have. I wish he would have come out and try to save people’s lives instead of just making cash with it. Come out and be a hero.

Later, when I sheepishly admitted that I’m a gossip columnist and asked if I could publish her comments on Jenner, Kristin joked that I shouldn’t have been let in and clarified.

He has a chance to save hundreds of thousands of lives, he has a chance instead of delaying it. Other than that he’s my hero. There are a lot of kids he could save.

I know who the hero is. I met her last night.

I want to add some more wisdom from Kristin. She said that if a friend is coming out to you, don’t tell them that you already knew, let them tell you on their own terms. You can start a conversation with them about a related topic and be open to listening.

If you think your child is “confused” about their sexuality or gender, they’re not the one that’s confused, “you’re confused. Your kid knows exactly what’s going on.

She left us with a quote from the Civil Rights Movement about standing up to bullying and discrimination. “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

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Some photos are screenshots from Kristin’s appearance on MSNBC’s Out There, where she confirmed that she’s running for Congress in Maryland. Some are my personal photos from the event, excuse the poor quality, and some are from Kristin’s Facebook.

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119 Responses to “Exclusive: Navy SEAL Kristin Beck – Jenner can ‘save lives instead of delaying’”

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  1. Jen says:

    Awesome article, incredible heroine.

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    How very inspiring. I can’t wait to watch the video.

  3. Kiddo says:

    Excellent commentary. Hey Kaiser, did she ever file a lawsuit against the Pentagon? Or is there no precedent or law which would cover the biased termination?

    ETA: ‘Very commercial’ is incredibly diplomatic wording.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Hi this is CB reporting this, not Kaiser. The way she explained it, she “lost everything” after coming out, and she said she lost her job at the pentagon. She didn’t go into details and that wasn’t in her documentary. I googled it and I don’t think she sued them at all.

      • Kiddo says:

        Thanks CB. It is a f_cking travesty that someone could serve their country, especially to this exceptional degree, and be summarily dismissed like that, and for what? And some people think we don’t laws to protect the transgendered?

        Also, I need more caffeine, I have no idea why I thought Kaiser wrote this, when your name IS RIGHT THERE. I guess staying up late doesn’t help…that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

      • mimif says:

        Yeah punished for what? Being true to herself. What an immense disgrace on the behalf of our military that speaks volumes.
        This was a great article, Celebitchy, very heartfelt and well written. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Transgender is not currently recognized as a “protected class” under federal law so anti-discrimination laws wouldn’t help her.

      • Kiddo says:

        That needs to change, obviously.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        I need to refresh my memory but I believe she was sacked for having a mental health condition rather than for transitioning. Granted the psychiatric problem is gender dismorphia but the fact is she would have had the same result had she disclosed a different psychiatric disorder. The problem here isnt related to trans issues, its to do with stigmas around mental health. And if you are advocating change it ought to be that all service personel disclosing a mental health issue are reviewed on a case by case basis. Afterall, some trans persons may actually be a risk to others and to self depending on how they are handling it, whereas a person with Anti-social Personality Disorder may not be.

      • Lee1 says:

        @The Other Pinky,

        That’s interesting that it was related to mental health. But I think it’s incorrect to say that it then isn’t related to trans issues. Today, in order to receive treatment (hormones, surgery, etc), trans individuals still have to go through the medical system, more specifically the mental health system. They usually have to be diagnosed as having gender dysphoria in order to access certain services. Most psychologists/psychiatrists don’t consider that to be a mental disorder in the way that depression or anxiety are, but it is still listed in the DSM and the argument for keeping it is often that access to services and insurance for treatment requires a medical diagnosis, thus while keeping it in the DSM does contribute to stigma, it also serves as a route to treatment.

        Obviously, it’s a problem that anyone with any mental health issues would be fired or discriminated against, but the idea of treating gender identity issues as a mental disorder is also an issue. A few decades ago, gays and lesbians also would have been diagnosed with a mental disorder according to the DSM. That was more easily removed because there was no medical treatment necessary. But how we deal with this particular issue very much has to do with trans issues. I mean, premature ejaculation is also in the DSM, but I can’t imagine anyone losing their job for that particular disorder.

        Also, a person wouldn’t be a risk to themselves or others due exclusively to their trans status. They could be if they had other comorbid issues like suicidal depression. I know this is probably what you meant, but I just wanted to make it clear.

      • lunareclipse says:

        Lee1, fantastic explanation – that really helped! Thank you. I assume you’re a medical and/or mental health professional.

    • Kori says:

      It’s almost impossible for active duty (or former) to sue the military under Feres vs US. Outside groups and spouses can bring suit though. The ACLU has filed in support of Shane Ortega in a transgender suit with the Army for instance. His case (born and serving as female he wants to continue to serve openly as a male) is fascinating for anyone who wants to google it.

      As for the grounds for firing Beck, there’s no mystery. It is prohibited to be transgender and serve openly. It’s regarded under long ago statutes as a medical condition that renders you unfit for deployable service (mostly due to hormone therapy) much like being an asthmatic. People are pushing it for it to be treated more like being a diabetic–dependent on medication but still able to serve. There are moves, including within the last few weeks, to perhaps overhaul the military policy–much like with DADT. Sec Ash Carter (my hubby’s former boss) is pushing for greater acceptance and a few branches have asked that decisions on this be handled by the civilian Chiefs of Staff. He issues started to come to the forefront with the Bradley/Chelsea Manning situation.

      Anyway the Transgender Equality site has a bunch on where the military stands current,y and, again, look up the case of Shane Ortega for a really compelling look at someone currently on active duty and fighting to serve as a man.

  4. Macey says:

    She is inspiring but there is absolutely no way in h*ll any Kardashian or Jenner would do anything without a payday involved. This family worships 2 things..money and RATINGS.
    I dont think he gives a crap about anyone else going thru it, they just want to stay in the headlines and keep the money machine rolling.

    • Kaianne says:

      You hit the nail on the head:)

      • Sarah says:

        Amen, sister. I respect Bruce Jenner for coming out and being true to himself. But I would have more respect if it wasn’t being done as a big media roll out on TV with Bruce likely being paid handsomely for the Diane Sawyer interview and a supposed reality TV series. He is getting a big payday for coming out in this manner and that is uncomfortable from where I sit. Just do a big article in Vanity Fair or some respectable magazine and then be done with it and get on with your life. But that’s just me. Maybe other people are OK with the media roll out.

    • Mia4S says:

      Thank you!! But I’m so glad that an heroic former Navy SEAL brought it up (kind of) before we did. She has way more credibility than us! ;-)

    • Rhiley says:

      I agree. And the more I think about Bruce’s big reveal, the more Kardashianesque it seems to me. The show with E kind of rubs me wrong. I will not watch it because I think it will paint him as an object to be stared at and analyzed and not a human being who is literally making life altering decisions. Also, I kind of now wonder if Bruce Jenner is truly a transgendered person or if he is more of a cross dresser. I know what he said, that he has the soul of a woman and he feels that he is a woman. And of course, his words are the only words that matter, but in the interview he mostly talked about his love of women’s clothing and wanting to paint his nails and style his hair, and yet there was still so much of him that was very masculine, very much a man. I am not saying that he is wrong about himself, but with Kristin Beck it is very clear who she is, and I understand exactly what she is saying about Bruce. If you are going to do this, don’t think about the money, think about the lives you could save.

      • SamiHami says:

        I think it’s unfair to put the burden of saving lives on Jenner for deciding how to come out publicly. This isn’t about saving lives, it is about one person’s journey through an incredibly major, life altering change. And while I don’t particularly care for him or his family and never, ever watch their programs, who is to say that his way of going public with his decision hasn’t already positively affected people in a similar position?

        I get that Beck is thinking like an activist, and there is nothing wrong with that. But how about let’s allow Jenner to handle his transition in the manner that works best for him without expecting more than that right now. Time will tell how he handles his new life as a transgender female.

    • Crumpet says:

      I am thankful that she is speaking up and pointing out the selfishness that is behind the way Jenner is coming out. Probably a residual of being married to Kris for 20 years. *sigh*

      • belle de jour says:

        You know something? I couldn’t help remembering that poor woman killed in his traffic accident – even as he was being hailed a ‘hero’ for something else. The media blitz just sort of completely overshadowed a recent genuine tragedy in which he may have had a big part in not letting another human being ‘be their full selves’ at all anymore.

      • Crumpet says:

        ^I didn’t think he was directly involved in that – as in it wasn’t his car that hit hers? I thought he was just in the general pile-up. I think I will not factor that incident in along with the other reasons I think his unveil might be questionable.

      • mayamae says:

        Jenner did directly hit the woman that was killed. He was driving an escalade hauling a trailer and concerned that paparazzi was following. He hit her car and knocked her into the path of a hummer, which killed her.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Note to self. Watch Lady Valor on Netflix. Reserve Warrior Princess at the library.

    • NewWester says:

      I am going to do the same thing!

    • Hillshmill says:

      Same here! We cut cable and I’ve been looking for good Netflix material to watch. Plus my husband is struggling a little to understand transgender life and this sounds really eye opening. What a bad ass chick and I can’t wait to learn more about her.

      • Tiffany says:

        I am really interested in learning more about it. The death of teens because of bullying and not feeling accepted really is eye opening. You just want to take them and hug them and tell them it will be okay. I am not going to through this so I feel there will not be the same understanding as someone who it. Empathy and understanding is what I can offer as a human in this world we live in if nothing else.

      • notsoanonymous says:

        I’ll be watching this with my husband, too – same reasons. We watched the Bruce Jenner special and he was like “this has to all be for ratings, this CAN’T be real…”

    • Suzanne says:

      I wish this film got the support “American sniper” did. What an amazing woman

  6. blue marie says:

    Kristin Beck is a badass, that’s all I got..

  7. mia girl says:

    Wow. Awesome.

  8. Nerdmomma says:

    Wow! Best thing I have ever read on this site, and I LOVE this site!

  9. BengalCat2000 says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve said many times on this site that my bff’s father was transgender at a time when there was little information available. It was obviously very hard on her family, and I wish he were alive today to see the progress slowly being made. These people are our REAL heros.
    *hunting down massive cat because I’ve got to Hugs something right now!!!! *

  10. Esmom says:

    Wow, this brought a tear to my eye. Her comment about “you’re confused” is so spot on it’s breathtaking. She is indeed the hero in this story.

  11. Susan says:

    She is an amazing person. Her comments on Jenner are so on point. This drib drab of public information, photography teases in a dress, Sawyer interview, upcoming reality show is a money grab and to turn something like this into that sort of a side show, especially with his children obviously hurting and unattended, is just unfathomable. This woman is an amazing being regardless of her gender.

  12. Ms Lib says:

    Well done CB.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Thanks Mom, I know that’s you. Thanks for coming with me. Love you.

    • Kiddo says:

      Aww, this is adorable. Your Mom is cool.

      • Celebitchy says:

        Aw thanks! I will quit inflating the comments on this post, I hope it gets a lot, but my mom kept going “mmhmm” when Kristin was speaking. I’m so glad she came with me. My son was there too and he said that Kristin was “awesome” and that he really enjoyed her talk. He’s 10 so that’s really high praise.

      • Kiddo says:

        What a delightfully open-minded kid.

      • mimif says:

        What an awesome family. I’m moving in.

      • Kiddo says:

        There goes the neighborhood, haha!

    • QQ says:

      Gaahhhh The adorableness of this all is KILLING ME!! this post, Kristin Beck , CB and Ma CB is all too much

      Can I say … Im really super Proud of Celebitchians through this all????

    • Shambles says:

      Co-sign @QQ. So inspired by the CB fam– CB, her mama and her son, and all the beautiful posters that have shown so much love and tboughtfulness over the past week. My heart is full ❤️

  13. Tracy says:

    I completely respect Kristin’s opinions and wonderful comment about “it’s the parent who is confused, the kid knows exactly what’s going on.” However, let’s not forget that Kristin made this transition in her own time, and on her own terms, as should everyone. No one was making public comments in media that she should speed up her coming out as transgender to save lives.

    How Bruce chooses to manage this, what he can ‘take’ and ‘not take’, and what he chooses to talk about and when is entirely his own (damn) business. Kristin was certainly visible within her community, but Bruce has the entire world commenting on his journey, including, apparently, Kristin.

    Bruce can and will, I suspect, save lives. That he do it in his own time –or do it at all– is his own personal choice, and we all ought to respect that. He owes the world nothing. Kristin remembers that Bruce “was pretty commercial” during the 70s. Damn straight he was, as a handsome Olympic gold medal winner, he had many opportunities to establish a career as does every single Olympic medalist since…forever. It should be noted that Kristin has also written a book, appears on many media outlets and engages in many commercial speaking engagements. Stick to your own knitting Kristin, think twice before taking anyone else’s inventory on how they manage this process and Godspeed on your own journey!

    • Celebitchy says:

      See this is why I asked her if it’s ok if I published her comments. She was asked, in a standing room only but somewhat smallish forum, what she didn’t say on CNN about Bruce. She thought she was addressing a room full of a couple of hundred people, not the press. I said I was the press basically and she graciously said I could make those comments public but added that Bruce is her hero. She wasn’t saying this to CNN and she was just presenting it as her opinion. She wasn’t throwing a bunch of public shade.

      • Tracy says:

        Then your headline, which was clearly critical of Bruce, didn’t do her any justice. Sounds like it was manufactured conflict.

    • Kiddo says:

      Well she did say Bruce could help others. I think what she was diplomatically referring to is the sense, that a few of us have, that the transition has been ‘teased out’ for maximum suspense, relating to the financial benefit of one. She is entitled to feel that way, and also to write a book, since she isn’t a millionaire, and needs an income to survive. Also, she was a ground-breaker, with many others, whose books and/or speaking engagements serve the greater common good. And like CB said, this wasn’t an out and out diss, by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Livvers says:

        Yes, I understood Kristin’s words above to be saying of Bruce, “it’s great that you are sharing so publicly! But kids are dying every day–they could use your wisdom/experience _right now_–why put off sharing your story for even a moment? Because a tv network says so?”

      • The Original G says:

        I don’t think you can diss Bruce because he’s been successful at leveraging his athletic career into a fortune.

        I’m not sure that Jenner can save lives. He is, from my point of view still an extremely confused person. He’s not an expert on transgender or mental health issues, by any means. He’s had in many respects a very troubled life and he’s hardly filled with wisdom/experience. It’s his vulnerability that’s engaging here, not his authority. Exposing his transition to the public puts a human face on this, but I think it’s premature to judge this initiative either way.

        I am personally hesitant to try to put Jenner who is just escaping from a box into another that meets OUR needs for a conclusive narrative. Thats’ show biz, not life.

    • Jayna says:

      Great post, Tracy.

    • MBP says:

      Pretty much what I’m thinking (in terms of everyone coming out in their own way and time, for whatever reasons). Otherwise you end up with outside parties judging “acceptable” reasons to delay talking about things like this.

    • anon33 says:

      THANK YOU.

      Kristin is obviously a hero in her own right, and like Kiddo said, she’s entitled to her opinion…but this whole notion that people “should” come out or “should” do this or that faster…well, it’s complete BS. In my opinion.

  14. Luca76 says:

    So inspiring!!!

  15. Colette says:

    Well using this argument Ricky Martin or Don Lemon COULD have saved countless lives earlier if they hadn’t waited to come out in their books or Frank Ocean could have saved lives before he waited to come out on his record.They both made money while coming out.There are critics of many famous LGBT who say they SHOULD have come out earlier but they didn’t because it affects their career( making money).That they are putting their career or making money over saving lives.What is the difference? Is it every famous LGBT person’s responsibility “to save lives”?

    • Luca76 says:

      I think this is a little different. Basically at every stage of this Jenner and E! Are planning a media blitz unveiling that will maximize publicity and ratings. That’s really different then waiting for financial stability to come out and I can understand that it would feel disrespectful to all the people out there who have to transition while living a normal life and face discrimination from the public-at-large.

  16. Ameoba says:

    What an inspiration! Now she should be getting major coverage. Much more than Bruce Jenner simply because she is doing it for the right reasons. Alot of things about BJ are shady. The sheer method of milking makes me feel like kris has a hand in all of this, even though she hasn’t come out and said much publicly. Anyways, I absolutely like the story about how she encountered a carpet salesman. Everyday consciousness.

  17. Jayna says:

    I disagree. I think a docuseries showing his transition will help humanize the process, acclimate people to slowly seeing him that way, instead of all of a sudden Bruce out and about in full makeup and dress with paparazzi hounding him and photos everywhere and it becoming a freak show.

    If done right, I think his docuseries can make a huge difference. Also, Bruce has children. He has said some of them aren’t comfortable seeing him yet and he is taking it slow and getting them used to it. It’s so easy to judge, but this is a huge undertaking, and I don’t think anyone has the right to judge how someone suddenly walks out into the world as a woman who is famous.

    Seeing him still as a man in the interview talking where people were sympathetic is a far cry from seeing him in what unfortunately people will call drag and the hounding by paps will ensue with their own headlines. Let Bruce take control of his destiny, not the paps. Just like the I am Jazz series, it helped show the personal life of this little girl being a girl at home, and helped people understand and see her life and her struggles and her normality.

    Didn’t this woman make money off of a book? All of her speaking engaegments, commentary on news programs? Just saying. . …
    Bruce just did a groundbreaking interview that is making a difference and still being talked about and causing a dialogue to be had by many. He only gave that interview not even a week ago.

    Bruce has said he truly believes this docuseries will save lives. He has GLAAD as a consultant. I hope it does. Transgender teens need more understanding from their parents who can’t accept it and maybe this docuseries will give hope to those who feel ostracized by society.

    • Tiffany says:

      I agree that this could be a interesting docuseries, if it was not in the hands of E!. HBO has been knocking it out of the park as of late and that could have lead to better credibility for the series and also Bruce.

    • Kori says:

      I agree. No shade because it’s her opinion as someone who has been through it. But money or not this is the highest Profile transgender case ever. The Sawyer interview got crazy ratings and public response was very supportive. I think BJ’s coming out as transgender will be seen as a watershed moment.

      • Kiddo says:

        I think the Sawyer interview accomplished that, though. I will withhold judgement on the series, but the lead-up to it has certainly bordered on sensationalism.

  18. Vava says:

    Great article, CB. Yes, she is a real hero in so many ways.

  19. Gayle says:

    She had “a gut feeling” not to shoot someone who turned out to be a good guy.

    An example of woman’s intuition at its finest !! :)

    • mimif says:

      😃 Love it.

    • Kiddo says:

      I know this is making a global statement, and there are outliers, etc. But the transgendered people I’ve met seem to have that incredible accentuated gift of the best (stereotypical) attributes of both genders: incredibly intuitive, empathetic, sweet, tough as nails, and ferociously protective.

      • Brittney B says:

        You know what, kiddo? I’d have to agree with you there. I just recalled every transgender friend I’ve had, and every transgender person I’ve met through activism and journalism work… and they were all so tough and so kind. I’m thinking of two trans men in particular, who were among the sweetest and most thoughtful people I knew before their transitions… and became even better people afterwards.

        I think I know why… it’s impossible to struggle so deeply without gaining some empathy. That’s why privilege can be so toxic, especially among people with power; if your worldview is limited and sugar-coated, it doesn’t come naturally to value everyone’s lives and opinions equally.

  20. MammaBear says:

    Wow. Thank you CB. So inspiring.

  21. T. Fanty Fan says:

    she is awesome!

  22. Jayna says:

    I wonder if her CNN documentary is on Amazon Prime. I don’t have Netflix. I would like to watch it. I remember her interview when she was on a book tour. I need to check out her book.

  23. Amy says:

    More proof of why I can’t like or support Bruce.

    This brave woman going through the struggle of being transgender didn’t stop her from being a good person, dedicated to her family and willing to fight for and help others. She didn’t abandon people in the quest to come to terms with who she is

    Bruce went through family after family, let his children scatter like dust in the wind, and now is explaining his story to E! Network in a Docu-series to the same channel that had wall to wall coverage of Kim’s second 72 day marriage. It’s a circus and a show with a fat paycheck attached.

    Btw in the classic style of Kardashian misdirection I noticed there’s hardly been anymore mention of the accident Bruce was shown to have contributed to that woman’s death.

    • claire says:

      Agreed.

      Thank you CB for sharing the story of someone who much more deservedly should be highlighted and given hero status.

    • Christin says:

      Another difference (certainly tied to your great points) is that one waits until senior citizen years to slowly roll out whatever transition will occur. Huge difference versus a much younger individual who must also figure out how to simply make a daily living as well. If isn’t as if the wealthy older celebrity needs more money, or has to worry about how to pay for therapy, surgery, etc.

      Bruce really does have an ‘apples to oranges’ (or however he used the phrase) situation. But I do believe he could start some type of foundation or fund to help. Is he obligated to do that? Not really. But if he is making money off this reveal, and given his larger public profile, it would be a good move.

    • Jayna says:

      Actually, she is estranged from her sons and admitted in effect she was never there for her sons. She chose deployment after deployment, far more than normal or others did, because it’s the only place she was happy, focused on that one thing only, not having to deal with her inner turmoil. When home on rare leaves, she was very angry and his family walked on egg shells, and all she wanted was to get back to her Seal team.

      She admitted she didn’t appreciate what a wonderful person her ex-wife was and only now sees it. Since being back she has been estranged from her sons and has focused on other things, like traveling the country, making a difference, but not on going home to try to work it out with her sons. She said she has regrets on how she was never there for her sons and hopes one day they will talk to her again.

  24. sadezilla says:

    Everything about this story is inspiring. What a great lady.

  25. GingerCrunch says:

    The photos of her in dresses showcasing her medals are the BEST THING EVER! Thanks for reporting, CB!

  26. Crumpet says:

    Excellent post CB. You should write more on this site. :)

  27. Melymori says:

    Best article I’ve read here in a long time. Thank you for this.

  28. Birdix says:

    My kid’s teacher revealed that he was transgender to the kids, without any warning to the parents (some, not all were mad, and some, not all were aware). It’s been interesting watching the kids get used to it, some accepted him right away as he is, others have taken more time, gotten caught up on the small things, like what his old name was (he said it’s private). It has taught them all that while in books it’s easy to say that you should behave a certain way, the reality can be more challenging and complex. I worry about him, hope that no one will be carelessly cruel, as kids can be, but he seems to be thriving.

    • Delta Juliet says:

      Hmmm as a parent I think I would have liked to know about it upfront, just so I could be prepared to talk to my kids about it. I don’t have a problem with it, I would just want to have a little heads up.

      Of course, it depends a little on the age of the kids too. Is this grade school or high school?

      • Birdix says:

        Elementary school, and the first year they have the puberty talk so a tricky age (big and little at the same time). Good news is that the next class, who came in knowing, adore him. Seems like in this case at least the reveal was the hardest part. Hope that’s true for Bruce too.

  29. vauvert says:

    This is fabulous!! This is the kind of role model the transgender community needs. I am not American, but I feel furious that she lost her job after her incredible war record. WTF??? And honestly, she could have been a clerk or a receptionist or a freakin’ general and she should still have her job. Unacceptable discrimination and the laws need to change to protect those who are brave enough to come out, to speak out and to live their lives honestly.

    To the commenters defending BJ here… let’s see: millionaire star of a reality show, horrible example of how self absorbed and indifferent to his own children a person can be, coming out in much publicized interview which will be followed by another televised series… several others have said it above and I have said it on other BJ posts – I have no respect for him. Does he owe anyone anything? no. And he should absolutely take his time and come out when he is ready – of course, preferably without marrying three women, despite knowing since he was seven or eight that he was actually a woman. Also preferably not abandoning children in his wake like discarded old clothing that he did not care for anymore, only trying to rebuild relationships so it would look good on TV.

    But, while he owes nobody anything (except his children), does society owe him more millions in the form of reality TV salaries? Again, no. It will be the usual KK trash with the rest of the KK- Jenner family preening about, faking tension on set (i can picture them giving him a makeover with fake lips, fake butt, their trademark talon nails….)

    What I could have respected was an announcement that all proceeds from this multimedia circus will be donated to support the transgender community. An announcement that he is establishing a foundation to fight for the rights of transgender people, against the type of discrimination they face (see this article as a perfect example). Lining his own pockets with cash so he can continue to golf and swan around in luxury… sorry no respect for that.

  30. Laura says:

    thank you for posting this! I will watch the documentary tonight :)

  31. Delta Juliet says:

    I’m speechless. I’ve never heard of her. What an amazing person, in so many ways.

  32. kri says:

    I have to say, this is the best thing I have ever read on this site. I am so proud of you guys for covering this amazing story. What an inspiring woman Kristin is!! Her story in invaluable. As for her summing up Bruce, I think she’s onto something. Of course he should tell his story his way, but yes, I can see that he’s making money from it. Still, though I am hopeful. These stories will help so many people and save lives. Again, thanks for covering Kristin.

  33. embertine says:

    While I do think she may have a very good point (and Beck is a hero of mine, what an amazing woman), it does make me sad whenever someone tries to dictate how someone else ought to deal with coming out.

    • Kiddo says:

      It was a personal aside, not a demand, for clarification. She’s allowed to have an opinion and didn’t initially know CB was publishing the quote, but agreed to allow said position to stand. And it wasn’t so much about how the person comes out, as I understood it, but the sort of commercial sensationalism used by E! to tease out the upcoming series.

      • embertine says:

        Oh absolutely, and I expect after the life he’s has Bruce wouldn’t even know how to brush his teeth without seeing it as a commercial opportunity. I think she phrased it diplomatically, it just still rubs me the wrong way a bit.

      • Kiddo says:

        And that’s okay too. Not that you needed my approval.

  34. AC says:

    CB, if you were at VMI last night that confirms my guess that we are near neighbors in VA. I also went to undergrad next door at a slightly different school ;P

  35. Lola says:

    I’m going to have to disagree with the comment of parents being the only ones confused. Transgendered kids (and adults) are also confused, because they were taught things had to be a certain way and they don’t always understand what they feel.

    Some MtF like males, others are bisexuals, others still like doing things that are considered masculine in their social group, and others consider themselves lesbians.

    I think expecting them to be clear about what exactly it is that they want is adding unnecessary pressure. Let them live, experiment, and change their mind. Some transgendered people have reversed their transition, and I think that should be okay too.

  36. BP says:

    She is amazing!

  37. Who ARE these people? says:

    Let’s hope transgendered becomes a protected class. Losing her job after such valiant service for what … how could they justify that? Non-performance? “You’re not who you said you were before you did all those amazing things to serve our country?”

    Anyhow, here’s the full quote for the way she wrapped things up. It was the great rabbi/sage Hillel who said: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Thought about it and going to amend my own post — the Navy question wouldn’t even be about her not being who she said she when she signed up. She’s the same person, essentially. It comes down to the Navy saying, “When you joined you wore Calvin Klein briefs and now you wear Maidenform, so no pension for you!” People who lose body parts in service are not summarily discharged — why are people who change body parts?

      Maybe The Village People could come out with new lyrics for In the Navy.

  38. littlestar says:

    Reading her comments at the end gave me the chills! She really is a true hero, in every sense of the word.

  39. FLORC says:

    Might not be a popular opinion here, but…
    If Bruce is holding out for money (and I think that’s more than likey) sure I get the point being made. Outside of that it’s no ones place to say when and how a person should share that information with the world.
    (I should have read up first. Many phrased it better than I.)

    She’s still held in high regards within the SEALs and not all are. Among the lowest is still the one who took credit for the bin OBL kill shot.

    Special trained military often transition to the pentagon, but not all are well received. It’s very much conservative still. To be outside of that and not protected by law leaves your future there unsafe.

  40. Nanea says:

    Thanks for covering this, CB!

    At my student job ~ 20 years ago I had a MtF colleague who initially had an extremely difficult time with the bosses when he (still) came out to them. After some pressure from the work council and the labor union’s lawyer, they agreed on finding an office job for the transitioning phase, and then, when she was ready to face the public, they provided a position in a different branch of the same chain.

  41. Kiyoshigirl says:

    Thank you so much for bringing this woman’s story to our attention! She, and others like her, are the transgenders who deserve an outpouring of accolades, praise and support. She has very eloquently explained what the problem is with Bruce Jenner. We all see it, but many have held back on voicing the concern because of the sensitivity of the situation. I think we can all offer our support to Bruce and wish him the best on his journey, but at the same time reserve the right to express some discomfort with the way he’s coming out.

  42. Jayna says:

    I just watched the video. It was very sad, to me. She’s still very detached emotionally and running in ways, while making a difference for her cause, but personally not focused on herself. She’s estranged from her children. You see how being transgender and having to close that off from such an early age affects you. There are so many similarities to Bruce Jenner and you see how it shapes you. Kristen was the same age as Bruce when as a boy he would try on his sister’s clothes and put on nail polish while the family was gone. Kristen also told his wife in bits and pieces but not everything. Bruce Jenner said during those eight years of training nonstop for the Olympics it helped him not to have to focus on himself, the inner turmoil. Kristen said the only time she was happy was when she was on deployment and could focus on that one thing to the exclusion of anything else, like her inner demons and wasn’t really happy when home with her family. Seal friends say Kris was practically suicidal in his bravery and took way more deployments than ever necessary and far more than anyone else did. Kristen admitted she didn’t care if she died, that it would be easier. They said he was fun when drinking but sober there was always an anger about him when deployed together. There was a deep unhappiness. No one knew why, but now it made sense and said she seems happier now. She has admitted she wasn’t a good father, choosing to be away all the time, and now estranged from the young boys. Kristen’s Seal friend said he is giving Kristen a year to get everything out of her system but then Kristen needs to focus on reconciling with her young sons.

    It was moving to see Kristen’s father still loving her, while her mother and other sisters wanted no part of the documentary, just a brother and sister and father, although shocked, have acclimated and showed support, especially the sister who feels closer to her now. The mother seems to be ashamed of Kristen. It was one of my favorites parts, seeing his elderly macho father accepting Kris, as best he can, but obviously loves him. It was sweet.

    Kristen is making a difference, but at the cost of her personal life and focusing on herself, which her family and friends all bring up. She knows she is detached and nowhere feels like home but said she is beginning to want real friends and maybe settle down and have a home again. I hope she finds that. I loved seeing the Seals that did not shun him and still embrace her as their “brother and/or sister” in that small group of Seals. How sad the ones that condemn her for going public with this and are ashamed of her after all she did for their country.

    You can see how transgender people because they’ve hidden who they are from a small age become so compartmentalized and shut off so many feelings. When Kristen said towards the end, “I’m starting to feel more empathy, more close to the emotional side of life that I never totally had before” it made me cry but happy and hopeful for her. She was so brave to come out, because the world is cruel to transgender people who come out later in life, especially, but it was the only way she could ever feel free. It’s hard to believe someone who sacrificed so much for their country can have a bunch of bigots online write the awful stuff that Kristen read out loud in the documentary.

  43. lisa says:

    im glad you were there. i never heard of her and now i have ordered her book. go celebitches!

    im not comfortable calling bruce a hero due to his craptastic parenting, while this particular action may be heroic

    • Jayna says:

      Bruce isn’t a hero. I would neverc all him a hero. He was brave to come out, as I feel all transgender people are brave to come out, like that specialist on the Diane Sawyer interview said, because of the way they are treated in society and ridiculed, but internally they have no choice anymore. They are dying inside.

  44. Ginger says:

    Amazing post! Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I have been discussing recently with my husband the fact that women are still not allowed into the Seals and then I see this. This raises all kinds of questions about the qualifications being based on something other than gender. I’m completely floored by her story and fascinated too. It’s wonderful to see that not only is she out there working for other transgender folks but also running for political office. I will have to seek out the documentary and watch it now.

  45. shoochai says:

    I appreciate Celebitchy reporting on this!