Chris Beck played high school football. He bought a motorcycle, much to his mother’s dismay, at age 17. He grew up to become a Navy SEAL, serving our country for twenty years on thirteen deployments, including seven combat deployments, and ultimately earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. To everyone who saw him, he was a hero. A warrior. A man.
But underneath his burly beard, Chris had a secret, one that had been buried deep inside his heart since he was a little boy—one as hidden as the panty hose in the back of his drawer. He was transgender, and the woman inside needed to get out.
This is the journey of a girl in a man’s body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society’s strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one’s own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess.
Kristin’s story of boy to woman explores the tangled emotions of the transgender experience and opens up a new dialogue about being male or female: Is gender merely between your legs or is it something much bigger?
Praise for Warrior Princess
“Speckhard and Beck have teamed up to give us one of the smartest and most important books of the year. Warrior Princess is the story of Kristin Beck, formerly Chris, a decorated Navy SEAL and American patriot who faced a lifelong struggle to come to terms with her gender identity.
The book could stand alone as an account of Beck’s distinguished career in the military, but Warrior Princess has a bolder message to send to its readers: transgender people are people… and some of them are even our national heroes.
Beck is a natural protagonist…strong, hardworking, and deeply patriotic. Every reader can relate to her, whether it’s her coming of age story, her decision to join the elite Navy SEALs, or even her coming to terms with her gender identity. And where Kristin’s experiences differ from the readers, Speckhard subtly exercises her understanding of psychology and sociology to bridge the gap.
Whether a pacifist or a hawk, advocate or opponent of LGBT equality, Warrior Princess is a raw, honest, and surprisingly relatable read.” OutServe Magazine
“Warrior Princess is a profile of courage, both physical and personal. It shatters one’s perceptions of what courage is and how it is shown. Courage isn’t just about physical bravery, it is also about personal bravery. Being transgender requires a type of bravery very few could show, even by those who have been in combat. Dr. Anne Speckhard does a marvelous job of taking us on a journey about being transgender in the military. Warrior Princess should be required reading by anyone supporting and taking care of our troops, whether they support transgender issues or not.” Colonel Carl A. Castro, U.S. Army (Ret.)
“Kristin Beck is a woman of extraordinary courage. Her story is an inspiration to all and a call to arms for those who wish to live authentically. Her bravery as a SEAL rivals the bravery she exhibits in crossing the seemingly inviolable gender boundary. Ms. Beck is a hero who has sacrificed for her country and shed light on this most misunderstood area of human behavior.” Randi Ettner, Ph.D., author of Gender Loving Care, Confessions of a Gender Defender; editor of Principles of Transgender Medicine and Surgery
“As a Vietnam vet who saw more combat in the sixties than any man should see in a lifetime, I related to Kristin’s book more than anything I have read in a long time. I have been a cross-dresser and this gives me courage. I am now out in the two worlds and hope to find my own peace. I believe this book could help many people come “out” in any way and live the life they wish.” George Massarella, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Central Highlands Vietnam; 4th Infantry Division, I Corps, Vietnam
“Military service in combat is so deeply meaningful to those who experience it that you can feel the undercurrent of emotion in the stories they tell. Gender transition is like that, too; difficult to explain to those who haven’t been there, but deeply meaningful to those who have. This story trembles with the intensity of both experiences, and touches the best in humanity in both worlds, without ignoring the brutality that we must also acknowledge exists. A testament to bravery, Warrior Princess reaches for the best in all of us.” Jamison Green, Ph.D., author of Becoming a Visible Man
“Though Chris had a military career beyond what most experience, Kristin’s journey will be all too familiar to the transgender people currently serving. This is a book about courage, and one that should challenge our notions of what heroism looks like.” Indra Lusero, J.D. Director, Transgender Military Initiative, Palm Center
“There’s no need for the military to be a one-size-fits-all world. This story will widen your perspective about the meaning of gender and how much it matters—or doesn’t—for successful military service. This inspiring account is also written for anyone working with veterans and their transition to civilian life, no matter what the issues might be.” Diane H. Mazur, University of Florida Law Professor, former Air Force officer, and author of A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger
“This momentous book shares vividly the real life experiences of a veteran SEAL who goes on to transition as a civilian. The raw adrenaline-packed events explicitly describe growing up, marriage, combat and leave and are experienced through anecdotes to the audience. The dramatic combat action and the shared emotional responses to both the war and the gender dysphoria are conviction of the traumas of both combat and transition. The book will be an inspiration to individuals struggling with gender dysphoria and seeking to find a way forwards. It will be a useful resource to share with important family members and friends to read in advance or alongside sharing plans of the change ahead for an individual.” Professor Kevan Wylie, MD FRCP FRCPsych FRCOG; Director, World Professional Association for Transgender Health; President, World Association for Sexual Health
“Kristin Beck is to be commended for her courage under fire in the service of this great country and for her determination to share her story in spite of the negative consequences that most transgender people face when they come out. Warrior Princess is an action-packed book that demonstrates the “flight into hypermasculinity” I have observed in so many Veterans and active duty service members over the past thirty years of providing transgender health care in federal settings. There are thousands of transgender Veterans who can resonate with Kristin’s story and benefit from the honesty embodied in this book. I highly recommend this exciting story as a modern day, amped up, sequel to memoirs from transgender Veterans such as Christine Jorgenson who have helped pave the path to acceptance over many years of struggle.” George R. Brown, MD, DFAPA
Professor of Psychiatry, East Tennessee State University, Member – Board of Directors World Professional Association for Transgender Health, former active duty military psychiatrist
“As Kristin Beck is showing us, gender expectations are for the birds. You can be anything in this life regardless of gender identity and, best of all, be true to yourself because of it.” Thomas Beatie, author of Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy
“To show that even a strong and patriotic Navy SEAL can be a transgender person totally blows away any stereotype of who trans people really are.” Monica Helms, Founder and President of the Transgender American Veterans Association and author of Tales from a Two-Gendered Mind
“Chris/Kristin Beck is a true American hero, epitomizing professional and personal courage, both as a Navy Seal and as a transgender advocate in civilian life. She fought for this country to protect the democratic way of life she believed in. Now she shares her amazing story as she challenges the American principles of liberty and equality on the battlefield of gender expectations.” Dina Titus, Ph.D., Politician and author of Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics