It’s not exactly G.I. Jane, 1997’s implausible film about a female sailor who prevails to become part of the elite, Navy SEALs — but it could be considered a convoluted, real-life variant on the movie.
“Kristin” (formerly Chris) Beck served 20 years as a “Sea, Air and Land” special forces operator before, upon retirement from the fleet, coming out as homosexual and dressing like a woman. Presently undergoing hormone therapy in preparation for “sexual reassignment surgery”, Beck now generally affects long hair, make-up and women’s clothing. He recounts his unusual journey in the just released Warrior Princess.
Gazing at photos of the once bearded super-soldier, now ridiculously attired in a black wig, fake breasts and feminine couture, my heart ached for him; honestly, it did — a man who once spent himself so self-sacrificially standing sentry over my freedoms, now clownishly simulating something he never, authentically, can become, no matter how much estrogen is administered and how much carving-up he endures: a female.
How does one pass two decades of life as a globe-trotting, alpha-male tough guy, functioning, by all accounts commendably, in the testosterone-drenched company of combatants — and then throw a switch, pledging to play distaff dress-up the rest of his days?
Not that long ago, in a column on transsexual Chastity/”Chaz” Bono that survived all of forty-eight hours on the Fox News website before being yanked without explanation, Dr. Keith Ablow shockingly enunciated the obvious: there was a time conduct like Beck’s, rightly, would have been categorized as emotionally/mentally disordered.
But now? Rapturous raves from the salons of the “enlightened”.
Should Chris/Kristin Beck be admired as a former, amply awarded (Purple Heart, Bronze Star) guardian of America? Or deemed a sexually confused she-male who regrettably has yielded to his deviancy of choice?
Could it be he ought to be regarded as both?
A friend of mine frequently chuckles at an off-hand comment I made several years ago that “people are complex”. I suppose my blunt observation struck such a chord with him because of the confounding choices and behaviors he’s beheld in the particular lives of those around him — similar, no doubt, to what most of us regularly observe in the particular lives of those around us.
You know what I’m talking about: really smart folks doing really dumb things; monumentally gifted acquaintances trashing their potential-rich lives with ultimately pointless, utterly self-destructive behavior; leaders or personal successes, startlingly capable in one luminous area and walking, human catastrophes in a bunch of others.
Great accomplishment yoked to abysmal failure.
I write this on June 6, 2013, the 69th anniversary of the Allies’ D-Day/Normandy Invasion; universally reckoned one of history’s most stupendous military exercises. References to HBO’s magisterial Band of Brothers will , I suspect, abound throughout the day, as well they should — the D-Day event figured centrally in that ten-part miniseries.
Funny thing about Band of Brothers, though — I consider it, perhaps, the greatest scripted war drama of any kind ever produced. I’ve viewed it in fits and starts times unnumbered. The closing five minutes of its final installment alternately produce in me goose bumps and tears each time I watch it, again and again and again. Damien Lewis’ Maj. Dick Winters and Donnie Wahlberg’s Sgt. Carwood Lipton (both based on actual WW 2 vets) remain, for me, two of the most radiantly decent, toweringly inspirational figures of WW II historic/entertainment media.