Kristin BeckChris Beck was an esteemed member of the elite Navy SEALs. He was a trusted warrior in battle, deployed 13 times on several dangerous missions. Beck’s parents, friends and fellow soldiers described him as dependable, trustworthy and honest, but Chris was struggling with a secret that could’ve derailed his storied career.

Chris was transgender and suppressing Kristin, the woman he knew he was.

In a newly-released biography, Warrior Princess, Beck explores her transitioning process after a storied 20-year military career.

Anne Speckhard, co-author of the memoir, tells ABC News, “Chris really wanted to be a girl and felt that she was a girl and consolidated that identity very early on in childhood.”

Warrior Princess documents the decorated soldier’s “fight to be free inside one’s own body.” The description continues: “This is the journey of a girl in a man’s body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society’s strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one’s own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess.”

ABC News reports:

The book says that Chris “had considered living as the woman he felt himself to be for a very long time, but while he was serving as a SEAL he couldn’t do it.”

“For years Chris had turned off his sexuality like a light switch and lived as a warrior, consumed with the battle — living basically asexual. For Chris the other SEALs were brothers and in the man’s man warrior lifestyle, even if he had wanted to entertain sexual thoughts, there really was never any time to be thinking too much about sexuality,” the book says.

After her retirement in 2011, however, “Now seemed the right time to go for it — to make his body match his identity — or at least start by dressing like a woman in his regular life.”

Speckhard said Beck first announced her decision to friends online with the declaration “No more disguises” and the book describes her going out to gay bars in Florida as a woman.

The book is being heralded as “one of the smartest and most important books of the year,” but Beck’s goal is much larger. She said she penned the book “to reach out to all of the younger generation and encourage you to live your life fully and to treat each other with compassion, be good to each other, especially in your own backyard (where it be high school or your community).”

Beck is currently receiving hormone therapy and is preparing for sexual reassignment surgery.

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