A retired transgender Navy SEAL Team 6 hero called out President Trump on Wednesday for his decision to ban transgender people from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, urging the president to tell her to her face that she is not worthy of serving her country.
“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck told Business Insider Wednesday, referring to Trump. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.”
Beck warned that Trump’s abrupt change in policy could negatively affect many currently or wanting to serve in the military.
In 2016, The RAND Corporation estimated that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people serving their country. “Many of them just want to serve their country like everyone else,” Beck said.
“Being transgender doesn’t affect anyone else,” Beck said. “We are liberty’s light. If you can’t defend that for everyone that’s an American citizen, that’s not right.”
Business Insider adds:
Beck is not just your average service member. Born Christopher Beck, she served for 20 years in the Navy with SEAL Teams 1, 5, and, eventually, the elite 6. She deployed 13 times over two decades, including stints in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She received the Bronze Star award for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.
“I was defending individual liberty,” she said. “I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.”
When asked to respond to Trump’s claim that his decision was based on the costs of medical services that transgender service members could use, Beck said that “the money is negligible,” adding, “You’re talking about .000001% of the military budget.
“They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people,” Beck said. “They don’t care about people. They don’t care about human beings.”
When asked about potential problems with unit cohesion or war fighting, Beck said those were not issues that would arise from transgender service members, but from leadership.
“A very professional unit with great leadership wouldn’t have a problem,” Beck said. “I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we’re not going to have a problem. It’s a leadership issue, not a transgender issue.”