Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Lady Valor : The Kristin Beck Story

Chris Beck was a typical American jock.  An all-round sportsman and a brilliant student who always got A grades in school.  In 1990 he was one of the few applicants who was selected to join the SEALS the US Navy’s elite Special Operations and in the next 20 years he did 13 overseas tours and served his country in the world’s most dangerous spots, such as Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured and decorated many times over, including receiving a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Beck’s military colleagues readily testify that he was completely fearless and volunteered for many more dangerous missions than most people did, but as his story unfolds, we get to understand that as he was so unhappy with whom he was, he was undaunted at the thought of risking his life.
When Chris Beck retired from the Forces he transitioned into Kristin Beck.  This she accepts was a new battle that required ‘a whole different type of courage.’ One of her best friends in her small hometown of Wellsville, NY, remarked, ‘We’re glad Kristin’s not going to war anymore, but this is scarier.’  Then two years later in 2013 when Kristin went public with her new identity, filmmakers Mark Herzog, Sandrine Orabona were there to record her new journey and in this rather compelling documentary we get to witness why Kristin now calls herself the ‘Warrior Princess.’
Kristin is disarmingly charming and is able to articulate her feelings that seem to win over many, but not all, of the people that are in her life. Her father and two of her siblings are extremely supportive of her new persona even if they still do not totally understand that Kristin was suicidally unhappy when living life as a man. Her mother however refused to take part in the film, and had evidently greeted the news of the change with “I don’t understand, why can’t you be normal and just be gay?”
Kristen uses her courage in not just re-adjusting to her new life, but acting as a spokesperson and a mentor for young transgender people.  She whizzes around the country in her cluttered RV given inspirational speeches to an amazing array of different groups, and always accompanied by Bo her mongrel dog who she has had for just a year.  Kristin adds affectionately that he accepts her as she is as he doesn’t know the difference between jeans and a dress.
Still an Expert Consultant to the Pentagon even though a few of her colleagues are not sure what to make of her new attire, and she also trains SEALS to be marksmen because they know she is an expert in this field.  When the documentary registers many differing opinions on Kristin, one of the best one comes from an Naval colleague “Once a SEAL, always a SEAL. That sister is my brother.”
It’s an unusual tale of transitioning in the respect that Chris Beck appeared to the world as an exceptionally accomplished and successful man’s man and although as Kristin receives a troubling amount of hate mail including death threats his journey as portrayed in this film seemed much smoother than most transgender people. 
The story ends with its upbeat feeling when Kristin is inducted into the LGBT Veterans Hall of Honor. She says that she hopes her story will help end transphobia. “I’m a human being and I deserve dignity and respect,” she said. “It would be a sucky world if we were all the same.”  
Kristin says at one point that ‘life is not like the movies, as there’s not always a happy ending’.  My feeling is that there definitely will be one in this case.

Posted by queerguru  at  20:30

Genres:  documentary

Follow queerguru

Search This Blog

View queertiques By: