Let’s face it, it takes more than makeup to get a DMV picture to look good, but you can’t blame a
girl guy for trying.
The family of a gender-neutral South Carolina teenager is suing the state motor vehicle agency after he was told to remove his female “disguise” while applying for a driver’s license.
Chase Culpepper, 16, was born a male and identifies himself with male pronouns, but he dresses in women’s clothing and makeup.
When he showed up at a Department of Motor Vehicle office in Anderson to get his license, a staff member told him to remove his makeup for the photo because he did not look like “a boy should,” according to the New York Daily News.
Culpepper’s mother, Theresa Culpepper, was upset by the treatment her son received.
“It was very hurtful,” she told WYFF-TV. “He was absolutely devastated. That’s who he is 24/7.”
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund called the case a clear violation of Chase’s rights and helped the mother file a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The lawsuit claims the department’s photo policy is unconstitutionally vague and broad and violates Culpepper’s right to free speech and expression, WYFF reported.
“It was wrong to be taken aside and told how I look doesn’t fit with traditional gender roles and how I look is not even good enough to take a driver’s license picture taken,” Chase told the TV station. “And unfortunately, a lot of people like me have to go through this.”
Michael Silverman, executive director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said it’s not the government’s place to tell people how they are supposed to look, the Daily News reported.
But South Carolina motor vehicle spokesperson Beth Parks said the staff member was simply following agency policy. She told WYFF the policy states, “At no time will an applicant be photographed when it appears that he or she is purposely altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity.”
I’m pretty sure a boy wearing lipstick could be interpreted as a misrepresentation of his identity. What do you think?
Local news Fox43 reported on the controversy here:
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