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June 14th, 2013
10:35 PM ET

Former Navy SEAL goes from Chris to Kristin

Kristin Beck served honorably in the military for 20 years as Chris. Now she's retired and living as a transgender woman. Watch what a day in Kristin's life is like in this excerpt from an Anderson Cooper special report.

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Filed under: LGBT
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Walter

    Hooyah, Kristen!

    June 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  2. philip

    i think she's cute.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  3. mikeal House

    Kristin,,,, Thank You for a great show and for the courage you display. And just for the record, I think you look quite feminine,, ON TV. I'd be proud to know you... It had to be soooooooooooooo hard to 'OPENLY' change ... Telling everyone..
    Hat's off to you.

    June 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    Kristin you are a classy, intelligent, compassionate and gorgeous woman. You represent our sex awesomely. I'm proud to be a woman watching you. I would love to write you a letter. It appalls and sickens me that after all your selfless service you are mocked in any way shape or form. Thank you for your service to our wonderful country. Thank you for your courage and class. You are nothing short of amazing grace. Could I get your email? Or some way to write you?

    June 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  5. Kay

    Thank you for your service (I am the daughter of a Navy Seal, deceased) and I know what it took for you to be a Seal. Incredibly difficult commitment. I applaud you for being true to yourself and for sharing your life experience so that others may learn and we can stop the discrimination that is a part of our society. May you be blessed with Peace, Joy, Happiness and Love all the days of your life.

    June 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  6. Bob Nideffer

    Dear Kristin,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I want you to know that you are a role model and a hero in my eyes. If I were to design a son that embodied all of the values that I believe in and hold most dear (loyalty, integrity, courage, self-discipline, humility, commitment, dedication, love, patriotism) you would be that son. I see you as an individual who has spent the greater part of his life serving others, and I see you doing that now in telling your story. I admire your courage and I want you to know that I will pray for your safety and that you find the love and acceptance that we all need.

    We live in a country that assumes that all men/women are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain rights. Your story, confronts all of us with the fact that we often fail to behave in ways that are consistent with that belief. Your story brings home the point that standing up for those beliefs takes courage and great love not just for self, but for others, for those who for what ever reason have been given less, or are discriminated against because they are different. Your story also brings home the point that the embodiment of those rights comes at great cost and sacrifice.

    Thank you for your sacrifices.

    June 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  7. Cheryl B.

    I loved this special and hope a lot of people will watch it. Kristin (as Chris) served honorably and with dedication in the Seals, one of the most brutal assignments. Now she wants to live in peace and love as a women. It's deeply disturbing that anyone would ridicule this choice, harass her, or verbally or physically abuse her. She is finally breaking free of years of suppressed feelings, and I applaud her courage in telling her story. Thanks, Anderson Cooper, for sharing this story. I enjoyed hearing her thoughts and dreams; more power to her!

    June 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  8. Laura White

    Kristen Beck will be a beautiful, caring woman. Her eyes sometimes shows her pain; sometimes the joy she is now feeling. I am a 66-year-old grandmother, and I would like to send her a note with some private information that she may find helpful. Could Anderson give me an address to send snail mail? I don't usually try to contact strangers but there was something about Kristen that just touched me. My suggestions are I'm sure things she hasn't thought of – as she said, she is just learning to know how she feels about things and how to dress, etc.

    June 17, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  9. stacey

    Kristen...you are such an awesome human being. The one thing I noticed when AC asked you what you were afraid of, you said "acceptance". I think that said a lot. I know you were probably trying to say that you feared not being accepted. But still, it says something. Additionally, you have spent years defending our freedom, and I can't think of a person who deserves to freely be herself more than you!! Best of luck my friend! You rock

    June 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  10. Rabbi Phil Posner

    Anderson, the interview with Kristin Beck was incredibly interesting. As an author of a book on ethics, I especially appreciated how you tried to get Kristin to deal with the complexity associated with who he was as a warrier and who she is now. I look forward to reading her book so as to better understand transgender issues. It also occurs to me that Kristin 's story, past and present, would be a great program for Jr. High school students as they struggle to explore right and wrong, bullying etc. Her appeal for acceptance was especially touching and ethically valid. Thanks for all your interviews in which your empathy shines thu so brightly. If it is possible for me to share these thoughts with her, I would be grateful, or perhaps you could pass it on to her. Please keep up your great contributions to honest and interesting journalism. Respectfully, Phil Posner

    June 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  11. Talia

    Thank you for the Kristen Beck interviews. I am overwhelmed with admiration for her strength,, courage and for her obviously gentle heart. I am grateful for her service as a SEAL.. . Now she is doing a greater service for all of us – helping us get closer to a day when we recognize that our shared humanity is more important than our visible differences.

    June 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  12. Angela

    I'm a middle aged heterosexual woman, but I do not have, and I have never owned, as many dresses and shoes as Kristen! And I rarely wear makeup. Quite frankly, I hate makeup and I would NEVER wear a frilly dress like the one Kristen was wearing in that bar. Translation: lifelong tomboy. But I admire her for walking so smoothly and confidently in heels. That's something I've never been able to do!

    June 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  13. Donna Porter

    RE: Chris to Kristin: I am a female Army Veteran, mother, grandmother, and wife. I am very grateful for Kristin's service and proud of her for living her life as she needs/wants to. I support her fully in her lifestyle and her choice to come forward. I want her to know that I support her. If we crossed on the street I would look as conservative as can be on the outside. I want her to know even I hide behind a mask of sorts as I walk down the street and I am empowered by those who can step forward and be truly themselves. Thank you – Donna

    June 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  14. paulina

    Kristin is one of the most loving, genuine beings I have seen. I want to leave a message of support and admiration for her. This world needs more people like her. Thank you Kristin for your Courage, thank you Mr. Cooper for sharing her story

    June 16, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  15. Nan

    My heart goes out to Kristen and to any other who feels locked in a body that they don't identify with. What a brave person she is to come out, write a book and be interviewed by you. I loved this show. Thank you, Anderson, for your courage, grace, humor and intelligence. Things are slow in changing but because of people like you and Kristen who just can't hide any longer, times are changing.

    June 16, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  16. Charlene Clark

    Kirsten comes across as a warm, charming person with a wonderful personality. Someone I would like to know. I think she is very pretty and I like her hair.

    June 16, 2013 at 3:37 am |
  17. Mark Gerardy

    Blew me away. It cannot be lost on anyone that regardless of how anyone feels about anything – this person served our country for 20 years and got the job done.

    I can understand people being uncomfortable. But everyone deserves respect, especially when they rise to the level of a skilled professional with a lifetime of service. A mature response is to be able to suspend judgment long enough to listen to the whole story. This does not naturally come easy for me, because through no fault of my own, I cannot help it, but in-general, drag queens make me feel very uncomfortable. But Kristin is different, because she is not a drag queen, she is genuine as a person with years of honorable service.

    It is fair to say that not everyone should have to like everyone else. For whatever reason, right or wrong, some people are not going to like me. But I believe that everyone is worth respect and dignity, regardless, especially if that person never did anything to hurt me, but I just cannot identify with a different life journey than my own. However, Kristin's style, to her credit has one undeniable quality, which is sincerity that is something that I can identify with and certainly respect.

    June 16, 2013 at 3:32 am |
  18. Barry Kennon

    I am watching your report from Chris to Kristin, I am a 20 year retired military man. I spent 4 years in the Marines and 16 years in the Navy. I have spent time with and been trained by SEALS and I would like to say to Kristin "Thank you for your service and may you find the happiness you so richly deserve. Fair winds and following seas.

    June 16, 2013 at 3:00 am |
  19. Gali Rotstein

    Please pass along to Kristin that my husband, an ex navy seal (Israeli navy) and I watched the episode and we both believe that she is a hero thru and thru.

    June 16, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  20. cheryl ullyot

    Kristin is a hero in more ways than one. A beautiful person.

    June 15, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  21. Faye

    this 60 year old grandmother thinks you are beautiful inside and out!!!

    June 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  22. Anna R.

    Kristin Beck- you are beautiful, confident and strong! I am so moved by your love for life. What a wonderful role model for any human. Be proud!

    June 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  23. Trapper

    More power to her. She's got the right attitude and lots of support. She'll do well. Good for her for having the courage to live live the way she was meant to.

    June 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  24. Diana

    I thought your documentary on Kristen was remarkable. She is such a solid person, I really felt her sincerity and her competence as an accomplished soldier. She was such a beautiful man and such a dynamic woman. It is a challenge and the thought she got attacked for coming out makes me sick. To think she spent 20 years as an ace top flight soldier just exudes from her and how she now describes her life. Very insightful and what a wonderful human being

    June 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  25. Bobbie

    I admire Kristin for what she is doing. She is adorable. I would love to meet her. I would thank her for her service and protecting our country. It was a brave and selfless act to perform those duties. She continues to show bravery by showing her true self. I found her to be so humble. I wish her all the luck in the world as well as peace and happiness as she wishes for!

    June 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  26. Mary Duncan

    Really enjoyed the show!!!!!....being a mother of 5 daughters....my hat goes off to you Kristin for keeping us safe!!!! I'm sickened that we live in such a ignorant,..prejudice world. Thank you for sharing your story...hopefully it will open eyes!!!!!!

    June 15, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  27. Reine Beaulieu, artist (Montreal)

    Thank you to Chris Beck (Kristin) for sharing her inner feelings with us. What a life experience and what a journey. He (She) educated many of us about transgender and I have a better knowledge of her situation. I am thankful to Anderson Cooper and Kristin for this interview.

    June 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  28. George Anderson

    Thank you Kristin, for being true to yourself. You are and will be a Seal for the rest of your life. Thank you for your service to our country. You have proven that you have the right to be yourself,with your selfless military service. God bless you. I am a Viet Nam vet. Strength and Honnor

    June 15, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  29. RUBY PIRIE

    I watched Anderson and Kristin Beck on tv and I just wanted to give Kristin a big hug to thank her for serving to protect all mankind. I am a 2nd ww UK baby and owe my freedom to all servicemen/women. God bless them all. Kristin is very brave and I wish her all good things in the next chapter of her life. God Bless.

    June 15, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  30. Mary B

    Kristen beck has my highest respect and admiration. What an incredible human being she is. I want to just shower her with love and tell her she is beautiful just the way she looks today. My decision to live an authentic life was nowhere near as challenging as hers is. But I know how hard it's been for me and know how courageous she is. Truly an amazing human being. My heart goes out to you. She is a hero whether or not she gets recognized as such. I will pray for her and visualize peace and happiness for her. She so deserves it. Thank you for sharing your story.

    June 15, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
  31. Jeremy M.

    To Kristin Beck, I will always have your back. I speak for myself, I would love to meet you. It would be an Honor. Live how you want to and let no one stop you!

    June 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  32. Hanna Forrest

    Please forward to Kristen

    You are a more beautiful woman, than you were a handsome man. H

    June 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  33. Warrant Officer (Ret'd) Sylvia Durand

    I watched this special and I know full well how Kristin feels. In 1998, I was the first male to female transsexual in any army in the world. Yes, I mean the planet. My case opened up other countries to allow their transsexual member to serve their country. I have just retired a short while ago after 32 years of service in the Canadian Forces. 13 out of those 32 years were as who I am now, biologically female and socially a woman. I wish Kristin the best in her endeavor of becoming who she always knew she was. She can reach me if she feels like it. Thanks.

    June 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Martin Lindsgaard

      Dear Sylvia

      How I do respect you and Kristin and how it inspires me. I am going through a major transission ( not gender related) right now and reading about your stories inspires me and shows me what one can acheive in terms of change and turnings ones life around.

      God bless and God´s speed to your both – Martin :-))

      June 24, 2013 at 5:54 am |
  34. Joan

    Dear Kristin (from Chris to Kristin):

    I saw your story on Anderson Cooper's Show. Please know that there are many people out there that support you and I am one of them. You should be proud to live your life the way you desire and for telling your story on national television! Also, thank you for your service to our country!

    June 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  35. jackie

    Amazing!! Really opened my eyes

    June 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  36. Celeste

    You were brave as a Navy Seal and you are brave in your journey to be who you were meant to be. I salute you! Keep your head up Kristin!

    June 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  37. Lisa

    Kudos, Kristin. I wish everyone was as down to earth and reasonable about life as you are. But I would say one thing...you may find yourself less looked at if you toned down the dressing a bit...at least until you're confident with your body as a woman. I certainly understand wanting to dazzle, but hold it for later. You will be gorgeous in time. For now, I think a Ralph Lauren look would better suit you. Lower dressy shoes, less sheer and exaggerated dresses – but not dowdy. The makeup, understated jewelry, and hair you've got down pat. Stick with the classics and a touch of flair, not all over flair. For right now, it exaggerates the weaknesses. I love to dress my friends...I see in them what they don't and they're surprised. I'm proud of you. Oh, and I'm just a plain ole' lady next door, always have been... 🙂

    June 15, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  38. Christine Rubin

    The Warrior Princess .. a giant among men & women on many levels ! She touched me deeply & I wish I could be her friend . I will surely support her present battle in any way I can . She really radiates a glow of love & beauty & is a credit to her gender . I feel she is going to enlighten many people & help a lot of young kids out there BRAVO KRISTIN ! xxxooo

    June 15, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  39. heather

    I have a lot of admiration and respect for Kristin in being true to herself. In todays times its so important to have people like her show how happy and comfortable she is now. She is a beautiful role model that will hopefully inspire others like her to live their lives just as fearless as she does. BRAVO KRISTIN! YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN...inside and out!

    June 15, 2013 at 4:00 am |
  40. Lauren

    Ms. Beck, first let me tell you that you looked wonderful on TV tonight. You are doing women proud, your make up and hair looked great. I was impressed with your poise and your insights. You seem like a very kind, intelligent women. Your words reflected what I pray will become the truth for all humans, the color of one's skin, the features of our bodies are not who we are. Who we are is deep inside us, who we are, are our actions and how we conduct ourselved while we are here on earth. Every part of the insight you shared are things that I would be proud to teach my sons and grand daughter. My sons are adults and have had 8 deployments between the two of them. It takes a very special kind of person to have the guts to join in our armed forces. Thank you for the years you spent in service of our country to protect my freedoms. My God Bless you and continue to protect you.

    June 15, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  41. Ann

    Thank you Kristen for your service in the seals.......that should be all that matters to most Americans. I commend you for your courage to open up in an effort to enlighten the masses that do not comprehend the diversity of the human spirit. As a wise man once said, Love is all you need! I send my love to you in your journey and I look forward to reading you book.

    June 15, 2013 at 2:09 am |
  42. Van Gill

    Kristin. I am a 57 year old gay male. Honey you are looking good! Stop doubting yourself. For one thing, I have known many transgendered women that don't look half as good as you do. I have also know women from birth that weren't as feminine or good looking as you are. We are behind you girl. I have "dabbled" and believe me, good looking men are definitely looking at you...if that's what you choose!

    June 15, 2013 at 1:50 am |
  43. Kelley Rayle, MHS, PA-C

    Kristin – Thank you so much for your service! No one deserves 20 years of the pursuit of happiness than you! I wish I could have been there beside you in Tampa. I' God bless you and thank you. And thank you CNN bringing this story forward.

    June 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  44. Doretta and Steve

    Cnn and Anderson, I applaud you for using your venue to help build a world of tolerance and acceptance of all of us no matter how different we are from the mold society has set for us. And Kristen Beck, I am in awe of your courage. You gave your commitment and courage to our country to protect and honor and you continue to give your commitment and courage to demonstrate the value of truth. No matter what the path is for each of us, the courage to be true to ourselves is paramount to helping to break down the barriers of ignorance. Your children have the most awesome role model any child could hope for. Your path is difficult, but rest assured there are just as many of us who support your truth and admire you for being a pioneer as ther are those who are ignorant . Stand tall.. If you ever want to visit the napa valley, my husband and I would be honored to host you. A big hug

    June 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
  45. susan johnson

    Thank you for this look inside the mind of a transgender individual. Kristen's honesty has caused me to want to simply hug her and tell her she's accepted just as she is. Her personal torment is palpable . . . I so wish the haters could see that God loves her as much as He loves them !

    June 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  46. Sylvia

    is sooo incredibly brave on so many levels. She has accomplished so much and even though the war may be over, she continues to fight against those who judge her for being true to herself. My own daughter struggled for years with her sexuality. She was bullied, suicidal and was hospitalized in her teen years. As a mother, it was difficult to watch her suffer. I totally supported her and defended her ferociously. She still struggles with her sexuality and where she fits in. I was very taken with Kristin's struggles and I can't wait to read her book. Thank you for you interview with her and I wish her all the best in the future, she deserves to be happy just like everyone else. I hope that by telling her story she can help the next person make that transition knowing they are not alone. xo

    June 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  47. Jodi

    AC – Please pass on to Kristin, thank you for your service first of all. But most of all thank you for who you have become. You should be proud of who you are and what you stay for. You are beautiful human being....what you have done for yourself and others is courageous and honorable. And believe me I would rather have you fighting next to me on any battle line. Good luck in your new life, and always remember.... You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Thanks again!!

    June 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  48. nicole

    I admire Kristin for putting herself out there ,for being who he wants to be ..instead of going with the rythm that everyone else thinks there suppose to be.Being gay ,lesbian,bi or transgender shouldn't matter .People judge too much on a persons appearance than looking inside the humans heart and who they are .And thank you kristin for serving our country ,i really from my heart "thank you "lots of hugs.

    June 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  49. Sharman Wood

    I am a veteran and a woman. I served in the U.S. Navy for 8 years. I worked in intelligence, but some of my close friends were/are SEALs. I am watching Chris' story, and I am impressed with her courage and kindness. Her representation of our country's military veterans and the female gender is OUTSTANDING!!! Chris, "Bravo Zulu (well done), Shipmate". Thank you for your service and I wish you success in the next chapter of your life.

    June 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  50. Cheryl

    Kristin thank you for your service & I'd be honored 2 have u as my neighbor U GO GIRL BEST WISHES:)

    June 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
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