ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The largest LGBT celebration in Florida is happening right now in St. Petersburg.
Up to 250,000 people are expected, including a special guest who is a bronze star and Purple Heart recipient and a retired member of Seal Team 6.
Chris Beck spent 20 years serving our country.
In 2013, he became Kristin Beck.
The former St. Peterburg resident helped CNN films make the feature “Lady Valor, the Kristin Beck Story.”
Beck appeared at the Freefall Theatre for a special screening of the film.
“It was extremely difficult coming out. And the Seal Teams, it’s a bunch of Conans, it’s all barbarians running around, and so trying to be a barbarian and saying, ‘Hi, I’m Kristin’” she said.
“I was always that barbarian, I’m always Kristin, I’m always the same. So, what I am then, is still me now. So…you don’t change that much,” said Beck.
A decision on allowing transgender people to enlist in the service is being put off for six months.
“People have been serving in the military for eons, and we’ve been there, and we’re politicians. We’re welders. We’re truck drivers. We’re Navy Seals. So, we’re here, we’re everywhere,” she said.
In the movie, Beck told us, there is beer, a dog and a gun in almost every scene.
“If you want to look like a train wreck, you can’t stop looking, or you want to look at it like ‘Hey, this is something that I see a lot of commonalities,’ you’re gonna find a lot of things you have in common with me,” she said.
Beck now lives on a farm. She draws and raises cattle with her wife.
For those having trouble accepting her, she offers this: “It’s just life. We are who we are, and get over it, dude.”
Beck will be participating in the St. Pete Pride events this weekend.
That includes an artist reception at the Veterans Art Center-Tampa Bay Gallery in St. Petersburg.