Female Veterans Share Experiences Of Being Assumed Non-Military Based Solely On Gender

GenderWomanhood 4 Comments

Earlier this week, we shared the Facebook post of Rebecca Hayes, a U.S. Navy veteran. It was her brilliant response to an anonymous, assumption-making stranger who left a “hey lady” note on her car, chastising her for parking in a designated “Veteran Parking” spot. In solidarity with Rebecca, a number of female veterans who follow our page commented about having been treated similarly or worse. Representing a range of service years across different branches of the military, each woman shared a personal experience about having been assumed non-military (even while in uniform) simply on the basis of gender.

So we collected just some of their stories here to help raise awareness because apparently some people have no clue that women serve in the military. This is 2016, right?








And one commenter offered what we think is the perfect summation of these collective experiences…


So to all the women who currently serve or have served their country, Women You Should Know offers our heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude for your selflessness, bravery, sacrifice, and straight up badassery. #RESPECT

  • Mary Kaye

    I was discharged from the Army on a medical discharge in 1986 – I was an MP and my knees got wrecked. When I got back home to the Chicago area, I went to the VA, as required, regarding my disability and had to see this ancient doctor from the UK named Dr. Joyce-Carol (no, I will never forget his name).

    He came in, started talking, everything was relatively pleasant and I thought he knew why I was there. But he says, “So, is your father a retired veteran?” Well, yes, actually, but that’s not why I’m there. “Oh, your husband, then?” No, sir, *I* am the veteran and I’m here because I was involuntarily medically discharged because of my knees which were damaged in the service. He looked at me like I’d grown a whole new head. Suddenly, he wasn’t very polite or pleasant anymore and he was no longer gentle examining my knees. Finally, he looks at me and says, “You got what you deserved, you had no business being in the Army. I’m not going to qualify you for VA benefits. If you had stayed home and gotten married like you were supposed to, your knees would be fine.” And then he turned and walked out.

    I appealed 3 times in the following 2 years and was denied every time and my medical records mysteriously disappeared. (Folks, always make a copy of your medical records when you ETS). I was so angry, I just gave up.

    Thirty years later, in 2014, I was trying to get veteran benefits to go back to school and the V.O. I was talking to looked at my dd214 and asked if I was on disability. When I said no, he said we were going to fix it. So 30 years after I lost my Army career and my ability to have a civilian law enforcement career (because I couldn’t pass the physical), I FINALLY was approved for 20% disability with the VA. No, they did not give me the back pay on the benefits I’d previously been denied.

    • Mary Kaye

      AND I get exactly the same benefits, 20%, that Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs, got. So I know how she’s getting screwed on benefits because 20% is hardly anything.

      • Interesting

        The VA still gives women male prosthetics. F’k male limbs. They say because a female prosthetic is considered a customization.

  • Interesting

    I relate to a lot of these comments. Standing next to my husband while they thank him for his service and ignore me. Even if he points out that I also served most look like they are put out to acknowledge my service. Just a week ago I give the guy at the diner on base my last name. He says “Oh a military brat” I’m like “Nope, I’m a veteran. Here’s your sign.”