This former Navy SEAL served in the military for 20 years and deployed 13 times to countries from Bosnia to Afghanistan. During those years, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Chris Beck was known as a man—but after leaving service in 2011, she came out as transgender. Last night, Kristin Beck, who's felt like a woman in a man's body since childhood, told her story to Anderson Cooper. "I fought for 20 years for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I want some happiness," she said.
She couldn't come out while serving in the military because transgender people aren't allowed to serve, CNN notes. "That's a chance that if I took it, I might be dead today," she added. "There's been a lot of transgender people who are killed for prejudice, for hatred." Her drive to join the Navy SEALs may have been tied to her identity, she notes: "I could totally make it go away if I could be at that top level ... Maybe I could cure myself." But "no one ever met the real me." Beck tells her story in a memoir, Warrior Princess. (Read more Kristin Beck stories.)