July 31, 2015

Today at ANTMK we have a special letter, from Kristin Beck to her dad. Kristin is a former US Navy SEAL who gained public attention in 2013 when she came out as a transgender woman. As an activist and advocate in the LGBT community, Kristin is a remarkable hero and leader, and the following letter--which she wanted to pen both to and about her dad--is an open, honest, and loving communication that we are honored to share in hope that it may provide support and inspiration to others!

Want to learn more about Kristin and her inspiring story? Be sure to watch CNN Films' LADY VALOR: THE KRISTIN BECK STORY

My dad is one of the coolest dads that ever walked the Earth. You will see my dad in the Movie called “Lady Valor” Produced by CNN Films. He says some really sweet things and you can even see him learning a few things from me and my new journey of discovery. A journey for me to discover myself and maybe even start to understand my dad just a little bit more. 

My dad, the greatest dad. I didn’t always think that though. I remember giving him a statue on a Fathers’ Day in grade school; you know, the statue that says “World’s Greatest Dad.”  I got in trouble doing something stupid I’m sure and he spanked me and sent me to the office to sit in a corner. In the office was that statue and I took a pen and carved “I hate you” at the bottom of the statue. I am sure that I also threw words at him that hurt him. I am glad he has thick skin.

I grew up in the country with fire and brimstone religion and a few cows and pigs in the back barn. We worked hard as grade schoolers, throwing hay bales and slopping out the stalls. Church every week was the rule. My dad was strict; living the rule about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. I grew up in a tough house, but it was always fair.

Dad was a football coach and school teacher in the 60s up to the 90s. He was always first on the football field making sure everything was right and he was the last to leave. I played nose guard for him a couple years of high school. He didn’t give me anything special and was hard on us to ensure that no one would ever think he played favorites. I didn’t always love my father and sometimes I didn’t even like him. Many times I just didn’t understand what he was doing or why. I didn’t see the whole picture that he saw from his vantage of years and experience.

I grew older and went to college and then eventually the SEAL teams. My dad was so proud of me in the SEALs. He put the stickers on the back of his truck and showed photos of me to all of his friends. I still didn’t understand him. I didn’t see from his vantage point even in my thirties. I was learning, but still hadn’t seen from his vantage point.

I am not sure if any of us can ever see from our parents’ or anyone else’s vantage point, but we need to try and we need to be patient sometimes. I am part of the LGBTQ community, in many places we can be killed for even just saying anything “queer.” My life has a view point now that many will never understand. I see things that I hope many others will try to understand and maybe take a look at from my point of view. Some of these issues are in the film Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story; more of my story is in a forthcoming book also called Lady Valor. We all need to learn true compassion for each other. My dad did and so have I.

I just kept going and living my life in the Navy SEALs and many other adventures. My dad was watching from a distance with a smile on his face. It is that same smile you see in the film “Lady Valor” just after he pulls my boots off my foot. I have war injuries that make it difficult to pull my boots off; in the movie my dad helps remove a boot while I am on the steps of my RV.  He looks up at me and smiles. That smile brings tears to my eyes; tears that I wish I didn’t miss most of our time, wishing that I did better. Tears of regret and of hope all at once. My dad’s smile is the most genuine smile and you can see that he really loves me.

My dad, the big tough 1950s conservative gun shooting football guy, loves his son who is now his daughter.

Thanks dad, I love you too.