I wrote last June about Kristin Beck, née Chris Beck, a transgender woman who was part of the elite Navy SEAL team that went on to catch bin Laden. Unfortunately, Beck, who at the time was still going by “Chris Beck,” retired just before her team went after Osama, so she didn’t get to share in the glory.
I remember last year thinking, “Damn, the trans community is lucky to have someone like Beck.” As a two-decades strong national gay rights advocate I’d give my eye-teeth for a gay spokesperson who was not only a Navy SEAL, but who just missed out on catching bin Laden. You couldn’t ask for a better representative for your community than that.
But, as it happens, Kristin Beck is now evil, and simply must be destroyed. (You can find Kristin’s book about her experience, to the right.)
Why? Because Kristin accused Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning of being a traitor; nor was Kristin terribly thrilled about Manning using her gender identity as an excuse for stealing nearly a million classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then handing them over to Wikileaks.
It doesn’t take much of a stretch to understand why a Navy SEAL might have issues with someone who takes nearly a million pages of classified information and then releases it to an organization that isn’t terribly friendly to America. Heck, I’ve never been a fan of Manning either, for the exact same reason. Did that make me anti-gay, when Manning was still claiming to be gay?
You’ll recall that, at the beginning, Manning was gay (or claimed to be gay). Some in the gay community embrace Manning as a hero, first because Manning was gay, and now because Manning is trans. I found Manning to be an embarrassment expressly because Manning was gay. Having worked in gay advocacy for twenty years, having a perceived-traitor as your spokesman doesn’t get you very far in terms of convincing the all-important American-middle to make common cause with you. (I’m also not a big fan of leaking state secrets unless you have a darn good reason, and I’m simply not convinced by Manning’s excuses.)
And, just like Beck, I was annoyed that Manning seemed to be using her (his at the time) sexual orientation (which was Manning’s initial argument, before coming out as trans) as an excuse for why she stole the documents and released them to Wikileaks. Manning’s argument was a rather dangerous one for our community, as it reinforced the decades-old concern that being gay was a security risk. To have one of our own claim that “yes, being gay made me steal state secrets!” was not terribly helpful for the cause. And it’s an especially unhelpful argument, now that we know Manning is trans, when one of the trans community’s top goals is getting the ban on trans service members lifted (the gay ban was lifted, the trans one was not). Elevating to hero-hood someone who suggests that she stole classified documents because of her gender identity hands our enemies a rather powerful argument for never lifting the ban at all. They used this argument against gays for decades, and they will most assuredly use it against trans in the military as well.
Beck felt the same way. And as a result, Beck, who should be the trans community’s number one spokesperson, is now a trans pariah.
Beck got a lot of blowback from the trans community for her comments blasting Manning, but also because she questioned whether Manning was really trans, and whether Manning was simply claiming to be trans as part of some ploy to garner sympathy. As a result, Beck went back and forth in her earlier statement about Manning, using “he” and “she” to refer to Manning. Beck was criticized for this mis-labeling. (Though it’s an interesting question as to what pronoun a trans person should use for someone they think is lying about being trans. If you adopt the pronoun the person asks you to adopt, then you are acknowledging that they are trans, even though you think they’re lying.)
Since that time, Beck has apologized for her comments about Manning, and for the mis-labeling — to no avail. Beck continues to be hounded by trans activists who have declared her the enemy. She simply must be destroyed, and harassed endlessly. Leading Beck to issue a statement last night, begging people to forgive her and let her continue fighting for trans rights.
Beck joins a long list of people, not just trans people, who have been declared the enemy of [insert oppressed group here] based on often tenuous evidence, and it’s a charge you can never live down, even if the charge is wrong, or even if the charge is right and you repent for your sins. You will always be evil, you will always be the enemy, and you will always be targeted for destruction.
I’ve written about these topics before. And it’s not just in the trans community. I’ve seen it on women’s issues, race issues, military issues. Heck, I was even accused of being an Amish-hater the other day. I’ve also written about the problem in the gay community, and about the failure by some of us to embrace Ken Mehlman’s, or Senator Portman’s, willingness to aid our cause. (And at least with Mehlman and Portman, they were in fact our enemy, working against us. Yet, I still am willing to welcome them into the fold if they truly want to help. Kristin Beck, on the other hand, was never an enemy of trans people.)
We’ve gotten to a point in the culture, reinforced to a large degree by the Internet, where everyone is an instant activist, everyone is terribly oppressed (usually by their friends and allies), and anyone who disagrees with us about anything simply must be destroyed, incessantly. There is no room for error, for misinterpretation, or for repentance. If you step out of line once, even if you didn’t really step out of line at all, you’re dead to us forever.
Kristin Beck is God’s gift to the transgender community. I’d give my eye-teeth for a gay Navy Seal, who almost got the chance to kill bin Laden, representing my community. And if that Navy SEAL said something wrong, and came clean about it, and was obviously sincerely repentant, I’d forgive her, and then use her to the maximum extent possible.
You can choose to be angry, or you can choose to win. I’ve always preferred the latter.