Transgender retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck says she has applied for a job in the Trump administration in an effort to promote visibility for transgender and veteran issues.
Beck, who retired in 2011 after serving two decades in the Navy and on SEAL Team Six, said although she feels she is qualified to serve on civilian Pentagon staff, she would gladly do anything for the new administration, to include serving coffee.
“I’ll carry their coffee if that’s what they want — just so I’m there, just so I’m visible and I exist, and so they see a veteran who is going through life who maybe they don’t understand,” she told Military.com during a telephone interview. “Maybe with that understanding, they can build some compassion and they’ll understand what liberty means to me.”
Beck has criticized Republican President-elect Donald Trump for saying at an Oct. 3 rally that the military needs to “get away from political correctness,” after an attendee questioned him about “social engineering” in the military, such as opening the services to transgender troops.
“Some of the things that they’re asking you to do and be politically correct about are ridiculous,” Trump told the audience at the Retired American Warriors event in Northern Virginia.
In response to the remarks, Beck tweeted, “Trump calls it ‘PC’ for me to serve? I served in US Navy SEALs for 20 years” and “@realdonaldtrump say it to me in person!”
Beck, who ran for Congress this year in Maryland in the Democratic primary and lost to incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer, said she applied for a Trump administration job through the employment portal at GreatAgain.gov. She said she hasn’t yet received a call back.
Trump officials didn’t return requests for comment by deadline about Beck’s application or transgender hiring within the president-elect’s administration.
Beck said permitting transgender troops to serve openly both in the military and in visible federal government roles is an issue of liberty.
“I served my country; I fought for life, liberty and happiness; and I’m not allowed to have it myself,” she said. “This is my country waving a flag and talking about liberty. We talk about liberty, liberty, liberty. And I keep saying, ‘This is my individual liberty.’ ”
Officials with the American Military Partner Association, which advocates on behalf of gay, lesbian and transgender military members and families, said they are not aware of many other LGBT veterans applying for White House or Trump administration positions. They said they are interested in working with the new president to support LGBT military members.
A ban on openly serving transgender troops was lifted in June when the Defense Department announced that it would pay for sex-change operations for qualifying transgender troops. Tricare does not cover sex-change operations for military family members or retirees.
The Department of Veterans Affairs this month scrapped a plan to provide same-sex surgeries to veterans, citing funding concerns.