Welcome back. This is post number 7 of the possible 700 posts I could write if I was writing one post per time that I was raped. That number, the second not the first, can only be approximate as I wasn't counting the rapes as they went along. Silly me, didn't I know that anything I didn't document at the time will never be accepted by a world more bent on misjudging me than helping me.
(jump to read about the joys being transgender while dealing with the veterans administration)
This week, our heroine Windi has been thrown back into the oh so helpful veterans administration (VA) to seek help for a situation due to a range of issues that can only be described as dire. She has to seek help at the VA first because many other social programs require exhausting VA benefits before those other agencies can help. The same situation occurs when trying to get medical help. Windi has the VA; that should be good enough, right?
Uh, no. Only recently has the VA begun to cover transgender care & what it does cover are only the very least expensive items of the very high costs of transition. The Crash left Michele and I with no financial reserves. We faced a simple choice: borrow the money necessary to cover the costs of required medical care or don't transition and be consumed by 45 years of pent-up suicidal ideation. Transition or die sounds melodramatic until you are faced with it. Then, it is all too real and it really just sucks.
I don't write about my time in the military because it was very short and unremarkable, aside from the time I was assaulted in the Army hospital, the undiagnosed broken leg treated incorrectly with knee surgery and the threat of Article 15 proceedings if I didn't shut up about both of these violations to my body and mind. Although I legally qualify for all the rights & benefits due an honorably discharged disabled (service connected) veteran, my benefits are often slow walked, reduced or denied because of the shorter than normal duration of my military service. The law, it seems, is merely a guideline for people like me.
Long story long, when the VA should help me but doesn't, I am left with little recourse. When I complain, as I did about being publicly misgendered, I am told that I am just being thin skinned. When a hostile verbal environment triggers the trauma I experienced in the military which then triggers the traumas from my childhood, I am told that I am making a big deal out of nothing. When I explain that the VA is acting like a unfriendly, unkind, bitter, unsympathetic, malicious, vicious, rancorous, venomous, poisonous, virulent; antagonistic, aggressive, confrontational, belligerent, truculent, vitriolic; bellicose, pugnacious military organization instead of a place for me to receive help, I am told that I am not a real veteran and that my 20 years of unpleasant experiences and being bullied while trying to get help from this culturally "hostile to transgender people" agency are exaggerations.
They. Are. Not. Exaggerations.
The VA has never and will never make the Army be responsible for the damage done to me. The VA only exists because the political class fears another bonus army. Unfortunately, that fear is not large enough to prevent the VA from covering up the misdeeds of the various military branches. This is where my deplorable lack of documentation really comes into play. I didn't talk about what was done to me. I put it out of my mind so I could survive. Although in theory federal law states that the veteran's testimony shall be accepted as true if there is no documentation to dispute it, in practice only some veterans' testimony carries this weight. The law, again, is merely a guideline for people like me.
When I was little, I used to bang my head against walls until I was unconscious. It didn't stop the perpetrators from raping me but it did allow me to be oblivious to their repeated violations of my body and mind. I spent all last week banging my head against the wall that is the VA. Sadly, I cannot escape this madness into the temporary bliss of concussion and the longer night of permanent brain damage. Regrettably, it is the world that remains oblivious to my predicament.