WASHINGTON – A few years after Army Reserve veteran Kate Hoit returned home from a yearlong deployment to Iraq in 2005, she sought medical treatment at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, where she was made to feel like she didn’t quite belong.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called ‘Mr. Hoit’ or [was] stopped while navigating my way through VA hospital halls,” Hoit said. “For the record, I’m not lost. I have an appointment. I – we – belong here, too.”
Hoit was one of several women veterans who stood outside the Capitol on Tuesday alongside members of Congress as they introduced plans to expand government services for women who have served in the military. The women explained feelings of not being acknowledged as veterans in or outside of the VA and, in some cases, are perceived as “second-class veterans,” as Iraq War veteran Allison Jaslow described it.