By Chuck Hadad, Susan Chuan and Dana Ford (CNN)
After years spent fighting in some of the world’s worst wars, former U.S. Navy SEAL Kristin Beck says she knows what she wants.
“I want to have my life,” she told CNN’s “AC360” in an exclusive Thursday night.
“I fought for 20 years for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want some happiness.”
Beck recently came out as transgender.
She wrote about the experience in a book, “Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender.”
Trapped in a man’s body
It chronicles her life as a young boy and man, known then as Chris Beck.
Beck deployed 13 times, serving in places such as Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. She earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart along the way.
Though she’s felt trapped in the wrong body since grade school, Beck didn’t come out until after she left the military in 2011.
Doing so earlier would have been too big a risk.
Transgender men and women are banned from service.
“That’s a chance that if I took it, I might be dead today,” she said.
“There’s a lot of prejudice out there. There’s been a lot of transgender people who are killed for prejudice, for hatred. When the book came out — some amazing support and some amazing praises — but also some pretty amazing bigotry and hatred.”
Beck says she doesn’t need people to love, or even like, her.
“But I don’t want you to beat me up and kill me. You don’t have to like me, I don’t care. But please don’t kill me.”
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