Navy SEAL. The very term says “bad ass”.
Like most folks, I was surprised when the story broke that a former SEAL had recently come out as transgender and was in the process of transitioning from male to female. My first thought was “how incredibly brave”.
Imagine that, my first reaction to the story how brave this person was; a friggin Navy SEAL, with seven combat deployments to her credit.
I never served in the Armed Forces. But, I consider myself fortunate to know and call friend many who have; especially several combat veterans from Vietnam. Their stories, of the mistreatment they experienced when returning home, have always stuck with me. As a result, while I have not always supported our wars, I have always supported our soldiers. Those men and women prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States. They deserve our respect and support; especially when they return home.
“Lady Valor” is the story of Kristin Beck. The film is equal parts gut-wrenching and poignant. It is clear that denying his true self was destroying Christopher Beck. At some level, it drove him to excellence as a SEAL while destroying his inner life and, ultimately, his marriage. Becoming Kristin seems to have changed much of that.
What I found most compelling was the way the folks around Beck supported her. Sure, there were and remain folks with negative reactions to her change. But, many of the folks you would expect to have the most extreme reactions (e.g. football coach father, big brother, fellow SEALs) have chosen to love and support the man they loved as a son, brother or brother-in-arms. It is clear that, in retrospect, each recognized and respected the emotional, existential turmoil with which Christopher Beck once lived. Rather than rejecting Chris as weak, they embraced Kristin; as family should.
As for the rest of us, if anyone deserves to live free … in body and spirit … in the United States, it is Kristin Beck.
“Lady Valor” is now on Netflix and absolutely worth your time to watch.