About a month ago I decided to get my Veteran license plates. In the State of Texas, you can request your specialty Veteran plates by providing proof of military service and if you have a VA disability rating of 30% or more you can get, if you wish, disable plates as well, check out Texas DMV link for a list of all the military plates available in the State of Texas.
As a Veteran, and I am a service connected disable Veteran, I had pondered the idea of getting my specialty plates for a long time. Well finally about a month ago I decided to do it, besides my tags were up for renewal so I thought it was perfect timing. I filled out the request form, took my DD 214 and VA Disability rating paperwork to my nearest DMV. I was told I would get my tags in about 30 days if not sooner and was given temporary tags. I had decided on the Iraqi Freedom tags over the Female Veteran tags since I am an Iraq Veteran. I figured I would be enough to give away I’m a Female Veteran so I decided to highlight my Iraq deployment with the tags.
I waited for my tags to come through the mail however the days and weeks passed and nothing came. As the temporary tag’s expiration date approached, I decided to go to the DMV to inquire about my specialty plates, unfortunately I live in the southern part of Texas that was most affected by the floods in the month of June and my local DMV building got flooded out. I was given the phone number to the county office and seeing that the temporary plates expiration date was approaching I decided to call. This is where things get interesting.
A very nice lady answered the phone. Over the phone I was very specific, I said “I’m calling to check on the status of my specialty tags. I ordered Veteran tags about a month ago and I have not received them. My temp tags expire at the end of the week and I want to make sure I’ll receive them by then.” The lady sounded more than happy to assist me with the issue and asked for “the” name and date of birth. I proceeded with telling her my first and last name and as I was going to say my DOB she politely interrupted and said “Ma’am, I mean the name of the Veteran. What is his name?” The “his” resounded in my ears. I couldn’t help but get a little annoyed by her assumption that “the” Veteran was a he. She totally disregarded my initial statement when I said “I’m calling to check on the status of my specialty tags. I ordered Veteran tags” and as soon as she heard the word “Veteran” automatically assumed I was calling to check on the tags of a “he”. As annoyed as I was I politely explained to her that I was the Veteran, a Female Veteran, and the tags were mine but I am not going to lie, I wanted to SCREAM at the top of my lungs “YES I’M A FEMALE AND YES I’M A VETERAN!”
I’m sure most female’s who’ve served proudly can relate to this ordeal. It happens a little too often for my likes. There are more females serving in the United States military now, about 170,000 in the Army alone. We have been deployed to combat zones, we have been accepted to serve in combat units. As of April 2018, 12 females have graduated from the Army’s Ranger School according to Military.com yet we continue to live in the shadow of men when it comes to being recognized for our service. Yes, it’s annoying and it ticks me off when I’m seen as the dependent of the Veteran or the family member of the Veteran. When will we stop being the relative, wife, mother, sister of the Veteran? Will we ever stop being “just” that? I don’t know, only time will tell. In the meanwhile I ask you to please never assume the Veteran is the male. If you don’t know, never assume, ask. Always keep in mind…Females are Veterans as well.