I have news. I’ve been telling you about Jim Stricklands’ Google Forum, Straight Talk for Military Veterans since we opened it last October. It has grown tremendously and I’m proud to say I’m sure we’ve helped a lot of Veterans along the way. The beautiful thing about Straight Talk is that all the advice doesn’t just come from Jim Strickland. It comes from the members. Veterans reaching out to Veterans and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. The moderators, Jim, Womenvets, Painter &; myself have an easy job. We just sit back, approve new members, moderate messages and occasionally get rid of members who can’t/won’t abide by our simple rules: no bashing of other members and no cussing. Be respectful of everyone. How hard is that? We chip in and offer advice, too, but the board runs itself and isn’t dependent on any one singular person. In my opinion, Straight Talk is an overwhelming success and I’m not just saying that because I like Jim Strickland and call him my friend.
The Navy is riding high these days. My congrats to Seal Team Six for taking out OBL. In my opinion, his death is long overdue. I heard the Seal who fired the kill shot is a married man. Interesting that the Navy would announce such a thing. Why would that matter to the general public? Who cares if the shooter was married, single, black, white, purple, green or (gasp) rainbow colored!
It leads me to wonder if they were prepping us for the next big announcement. On May 9, 2011, Stars & Stripes published an article entitled Navy says chaplains could soon perform same-sex unions. Could this be the Navy’s way of telling us the “married” Seal is gay and to reward him for his heroism they were timing the release of this announcement as a show of support? Stranger things have happened, right?
Unfortunately, for gays in the military who, for just a moment had a shred of hope, this didn’t last very long. Just this morning I woke to a ticker announcement on Good Morning America stating the Navy had reversed it’s position on this decision. That didn’t last very long, did it?
Why the sudden change of heart? It’s clearly explained in this article, Navy Plan to allow same-sex marriage on bases draws opposition. The article states that after the plan to allow marriages on base was announced it drew criticisms “from dozens of members of Congress”. So of course, the Navy bowed to political pressure and back peddled so fast we didn’t even have time to spread the good news that same sex marriages were going to be allowed on base in the first place.
What a crying shame. Here the Navy had the opportunity to lead the way…again. They brag in the news about taking out OBL. They deserve props for that. They brag in the news that “sensitivity training” is progressing towards the certification of the repeal of DADT. They brag in the news they will soon begin to allow same-sex marriages on base. The policy was published in April and released a few days ago. Why did they wait so long? You have to wonder about that. The timing is certainly suspicious, don’t you think? Just as quickly as it was announced, the policy was rescinded due to pressure from Congress.
What the hell, Rear Admiral Tidd? DADT has been repealed. You took a major step forward in announcing that same-sex marriages would be allowed on base. What a coward you turned out to be.
Until the next time, my friends…..
|Kate bowling. Nothing stops her.|
|All dolled up and ready to go. Meet Kate Paterson.|
Hi ladies and gentleman,
My name is Kate Patterson and like all of you I had the terrible experience of military sexual trauma. I have decided that it is an epidemic and I want to write about our experiences.
I feel that this is often put on the back burner. Many vets don’t even know they can get compensation for it. I do, a lot of my rating comes from learning that I can get compensation for what I experienced while on active duty!
That day still haunts me and it always will.
But, I am going to take power over it and start a book of short stories from women and men veterans across the United States.
I want people to understand what we have gone through. Because fighting on the battlefield is a memory I can place on the back burner, but sexual trauma I cannot.
I would like to have everyone’s stories emailed to me- firstname.lastname@example.org within the next three months.
I am in the process of having my first book published. I have been working on that one for 2 years.
So, you can be anonymous and not have your name associated to your story or you can identify yourself as whomever you would like.
Just let me know!
Thank you all so much,
When was the last time you were at a street fair and you approached a table set-up for a Veterans Organization. Did they hand you a membership application to join the Auxiliary? How many times has this happened to you when you expressed an interest in joining the organization? Too many times? Yeah, me too. And I’m sick of it. Why? Because I don’t belong in the Auxiliary. I belong in the main organization. I AM A VETERAN. I AM A WOMAN VETERAN. HEAR ME ROAR. (Thank you Helen Reddy) How dare the men who sit behind the tables and “man” these booths assume that I am not a Veteran. The wives are just as guilty. They assume we want to be in the auxiliary with them. Sorry ladies, I’m a Veteran myself. I have nothing in common with you. I’m not the wife of a Veteran. I don’t know how to communicate with you. I don’t want to swap recipes with you. I don’t want to swap stories with you. I don’t have pictures of children to show you. I need to share with other Veterans who understand me. I want to talk to women Veterans who are MST Survivors. I want to know how they deal with male Veterans on a day to day basis in VSO’s where the men don’t want us.
This is a common problem. I received an email from a friend of mine who told me a story about one service organization who tried to recruit her husband into the main organization while was being recruited into the auxiliary. When she corrected the “recruiters” and told them SHE was the Veteran, not her husband, they not only apologized, but they offered her one year of free membership. They were so impressed by her she ended up being an Officer in that particular organization. If all the organizations admitted to this mistake and offered free memberships they’d go broke!
What about the service organization that is now targeting women? You know the one I’m talking about. They have a big push now in their attempt to recruit women. Their recruiting efforts target ALL women. It isn’t until you start digging deep that you realize it isn’t a NEW organization. It’s one of the big three and they are targeting women who have served in Iraq & Afghanistan. What about the women who served in Vietnam, WWI and WWII, Panama, Grenada and other places women have served. And let’s talk about my favorite … the forgotten group of Veterans. Veterans like myself who served in Germany before the wall came down. Cold War Veterans. We used to joke that if the balloon went up we had less than three seconds to put ours heads between our knees and kiss our asses goodbye. We saw death on the Fulda Gap. We saw death on the Czech border. We saw death when terrorist groups were killing our GI’s in Frankfurt. Remember Badder-Meinhof? Remember the Red Army Faction? Remember when General Alexander Haig was on his way to his retirement ceremony in June of 1979 and terrorists tried to assassinate him? Do you remember SMLM Vehicles? I remember all of that. I was there and so were thousands upon thousands of Cold War Veterans who served in Europe. Yet our service isn’t good enough to be considered “combat service” for entry into this particular VSO. I’ve commented to their website and asked about it. My comments didn’t even make it past their moderator for posting. Yep, another case of second class citizenship… this time by other women Veterans. Disgusting.
It’s not just the service organizations that treat us this way. It’s the VA Hospitals that treat us this way. We’re tired of it. I’m tired of it. A couple weeks ago I went in for a CT Scan of my lungs. I specifically requested an all female team. The consult was written that way. When I was taken back to the exam room, a female student handed me a gown and told me to change into it. I looked over to my right and there was a male technician in the room. I asked, “Who is he and what is he doing in here?” The young student told me, “He’s the technician.” I looked around and there was no changing room. I was expected to change into the gown with him sitting right in the next room with nothing but a glass window separating us. Screw that. I told the student, “Get rid of him, he’s not doing my scan and I’m not changing with him in here.” She went in the next room, said something to him, I could see her shrugging her shoulders, and then he opened the door to the hallway and apparently called for someone else. The student came back into the room and told me it would be just a few minutes because he was “doing something important”. I could see what that “important” task was. He was browsing the internet, looking at airplanes online. The student asked me if I was going to change into the gown and I told her I was not changing until he was gone. It made me wonder, how many women changed while that jerk sat there in the next room? How many women thought they had to change and couldn’t ask for a woman technician? Second class citizens? You’re damn right we are. Speak up, Women! We don’t have to stand for this. We have rights. The young student who was assisting with my CT scan may have not known it, but I sure know it.
These days I don’t leave the house without my service dog, Rocco. I can’t. I have PTSD because of things that were done to me by male GI’s. Does that mean I hate all male Veterans? No. It just means that I am wary of them. It means that I can’t be in a crowd of people anymore. It means that I can’t stand to have my back exposed anymore. It means that I hate leaving my house. I’d rather stay at home 24/7 where I feel safe. On those rare occasions when I do leave the security of the house, I have Rocco at my side. He’s still in training and he has a long way to go but he makes me feel safe. Still, I have to deal with ignorant and rude comments from the public. The worst comments are from male Vets at the VA Hospital.
When Rocco and I go to the VA Hospital, why do Veterans feel the need to try to distract my dog? One ignorant male Veteran had the nerve to roll up next to me and told me, “You’re petting your dog wrong.” This particular Veteran had “fuck you” tattooed on his thigh in two inch letters so I’m sure he wasn’t offended when I told him to “Fuck off and mind your own business.” I get Veterans asking me if I’m training my dog to give to a Veteran. What the hell? I AM a Veteran. Why do they think I’m standing there waiting to be seen?
Just trying to get the VA to pay for Rocco as my service dog has been a battle. Is it because I’m a woman Veteran with a service dog? The guy in prosthetics told me it couldn’t be done and argued with me. I left prosthetics vowing to prove him wrong and before I’d left the hospital that day he’d called D.C. and found out I was right. He left me a voicemail telling me I was right but never once apologized. Would he have treated a male Veteran the same way? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill because I have a problem with male Veterans and this jerk is a former ring knocker?
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t named any of the organizations I’m ranting about because I’m sure you all know who they are. I don’t need to call them out by name. They are also the same service organizations who offer their assistance with your disability claims. I say, let us help you help yourself with your claims. No one cares about your claims as much as you do, right? (Here comes the plug, folks.) Go to Jim Stricklands A to Z Guide for all your disability claims issues and questions. If that isn’t enough for you, than go to our Straight Talk Forum. We can help you. Guaranteed. You’ll get personal attention like you’d never receive from any Service Organization.
C’mon, women. Speak up. Talk to me. How tired are you of being treated like a second class citizen by the Veterans Service Organizations, the Veterans Hospitals, the Veterans Administration, and other Veterans both male and female. Can someone please tell me why the service organizations keep trying to push women Veterans into the auxiliaries instead of letting us join the main organization where we belong?
What we need is a Service Organization where ALL Veterans are welcomed. Is there such a thing? Is there an organization where women Veterans won’t be pushed into joining the Auxiliary? If there is such an Organization name it and I’ll title my next blog after you.
Until the next time ….
I sure hope this link works. If not, click on the title of this blog and it will take you directly to this video. It’s a beautifully done video tribute by a man who loses his Soldier/Lover to the war in Afghanistan.
The point of the video, for me anyway, is that it doesn’t matter who you sleep with. We can all wear the uniform. We can all fight for our country. We can all die for this country. We all bleed the same color of red. Sexuality doesn’t matter.
Contact your Congressman. Let’s get Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed.
Until the next time …..