In the latest twist in the saga of a California veterans hospital and World War II-style glamour girls, officials now want to approve the group outfits before allowing them to visit patients.
Pin Ups for Vets received an email from the San Diego Veterans Hospital on Monday banning the calendar and telling them the outfits of their volunteers must be scrutinized in advance. Additionally, the costumed volunteers will not be allowed to hand out their signature calendar.
“It’s insulting that our outfits have to be preapproved,” Gina Elise told the Washington Examiner. “It feels like it’s discriminatory behavior. Is that happening with every single visitor that comes in the hospital?”
The saga started last week when the group’s appointment to visit the hospital later this month was abruptly canceled because the women might be subjected to “catcalling.” The decision was reversed following a report by the Washington Examiner on Friday.
Elise started Pin Ups for Vets as a way to raise money for veterans’s causes and to honor her late grandfather, who served in World War II. The group publishes a calendar featuring veterans in classic 1940s attire and gives copies to veterans they visit. Proceeds from calendar sales go toward various veteran causes, including Veterans Affairs programs.
Sarah Sahutske, a Marine Corps veteran and Pin Ups for Vets volunteer, has obtained healthcare at the San Diego facility for seven years, she said, and has not been harassed or catcalled.
“As a female who uses this facility, I have never once felt that the male veterans look or treat me any different as originally insinuated by the VA facility volunteer office staff,” Sahutske told the Washington Examiner. Nevertheless, for her upcoming volunteer visit, Sahutske was instructed to send photos of the outfits she and her colleagues would wear.
“This makes me wonder if we are being singled out and scrutinized to prevent us from visiting, as I’m sure none of the other volunteer organizations need to submit photos of themselves in their organizations representing attire,” Sahutske told the Washington Examiner.
The San Diego VA did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment. The pinups group historically have had a positive relationship with the VA, Elise noted.
The group will continue to pursue the visit, Air Force veteran and Pin Ups for Vets volunteer Jo Cruz-Keller told the Washington Examiner. “It feels like they are trying to discourage the visit altogether,” Cruz-Keller said. “They seem to forget, female vets do not give up.”