Chris Beck served for 20 years as a Navy SEAL on dangerous battlefields, but now he faces the ultimate media firestorm after announcing he is a woman, Kristin Beck.
"Chris really wanted to be a girl and felt that she was a girl and consolidated that identity very early on in childhood," said Anne Speckhard, who is the co-author of Beck's recently released biography, "Warrior Princess."
Beck kept his secret for decades, even growing a hairy beard while fighting as part of the SEALs, reports ABC News.
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL, said Beck's reputation in the SEALs was a "consummate guy's guy."
According to Speckhard's book, Beck "had considered living as the woman he felt himself to be for a very long time, but while he was serving as a SEAL he couldn't do it."
"For years, Chris had turned off his sexuality like a light switch and lived as a warrior, consumed with the battle — living basically asexual," Speckhard writes. "For Chris, the other SEALs were brothers and in the man's man warrior lifestyle, even if he had wanted to entertain sexual thoughts, there really was never any time to be thinking too much about sexuality."
After retiring in 2011, Beck decided that "now seemed the right time to go for it — to make his body match his identity — or at least start by dressing like a woman in his regular life."
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Beck came out by posting a picture of himself dressed a woman on his LinkedIn page in early 2011, according to The Atlantic Wire. Beck's former SEAL buddies were very supportive.
Beck's next challenge is to make the physical transformation to a female. Beck is undergoing hormone therapy before his sexual reassignment surgery as a woman, which includes surgery on the genitals.