Kristin Beck, Former Navy Seal, to Speak on Transgender Day of Remembrance

PFLAG Chestertown is proud to sponsor special guest, Kristin Beck, for their annual Transgender Day of Remembrance event. Kristin was a decorated Navy Seal for over twenty years. Having been deployed thirteen times to areas including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, she earned the Bronze Star with “V”, and the Purple Heart, among many other honors.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 5.01.52 PMKristin currently is working as an advocate and to help military members with PTSD through art therapy and rescuing horses. She has been outspoken in her support of the transgender community, both civilian and military.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (www.TDOR.info) is a time to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of a hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people. It brings attention to the continued violence endured by this population worldwide.

This has been a particularly important issue for Pat Chance, a native Kent County resident. Pat shares that she supported an Army Sgt. through a soldier support group, starting in 2006. Through care packages, snail mail, and eventually through e-mails, they became friends.

Two years into the friendship the soldier wrote Pat a letter, disclosing that he was transgender. He said that he had written these “coming out” letters before and would understand if Pat did not write back to him. Pat wrote back and told him that she had gotten to know a real person, not a label, and, of course, she still wanted to continue to be his friend!

Pat began to learn how difficult it is to be transgender by reading a book that her soldier suggested, Wrapped in Blue by Donna Rose. Since then, Pat has continued to learn more about the complexities of being transgender.

The recent worldwide spotlight on this topic has made it easier to find all kinds of information. Unfortunately some sources continue to communicate misinformation and fear based ideas which reinforce existing discrimination. This is why she joined the local chapter of PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of the LGBT Communities). This organization offers expert education, mutual support and equality based advocacy to everyone willing to participate.

The pressure of trying to be the person that he was (a female in a male body) was too much. Pat’s soldier committed suicide in January of 2010 and she was one of five people that he called before he took his life. At the time of the call, Pat did not realize that she would never talk to him again.

Pat’s experiences with her soldier are why she has followed Kristin Beck’s story in social media. When the local PFLAG chapter was beginning to plan our TDOR event for this year, Pat shared her interest in Kristin’s advocacy work. The result is that the local chapter is proud to have sponsored opportunities in Chestertown for Kristin to share her story with us in person.

She will speak at Washington College on November 20, from 4 to 5 pm in Decker Auditorium and the public is invited. This will be followed by evening activities with Kristin at the Garfield Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6:30 pm with the TDOR vigil beginning promptly at 7 pm immediately followed by the film “The Lady Valor, the Kristin Beck Story.” Kristin will be available for more conversation and questions following the film.

All events are free of charge thanks to the donations of PFLAG supporters, the C. V. Starr Center, and Washington College. At the Garfield a tax deductible donation of $10 per person for our local PFLAG Chestertown Chapter will be suggested. For more information online visit PFLAGChestertown.com or the GarfieldCenter.org.

 

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