DMV tells gender non-conforming teen to remove makeup
Chase Culpepper is a teen who wears women's clothing and makeup on a regular basis. That is, until he was forced to remove said makeup for his driver's license picture.
REPORTER: "The DMV says it does not allow anyone to wear a disguise in photos."
CULPEPPER: "This is how I am every single day, this is who I am and this is how I choose to express myself."
The DMV says it will not allow 16-year-old Culpepper, who identifies as gender non-conforming, to retake his picture because it goes against policy. His mother is upset, too:
She told WHNS "My government was telling my son 'you must conform to our ideals of what a man should look like.' ... I'm very proud of him.'"
"The card says that he's male, he needs to look like a male."
WLTX spoke with DMV spokesperson Beth Parks, who "tells us the current policy was put in place in August of 2009. Parks says the policy is not up for review at this time."
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is supporting Chase, writing about the case on its homepage.
"TLDEF contacted representatives of the South Carolina DMV and requested that Chase be given the opportunity to retake his license photo."
But The Huffington Post spoke with the DMV, and chances of that happening are unlikely – the department again cited that 2009 policy, which states, "At no time can an applicant be photographed when it appears that he or she is purposefully altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity."
Culpepper took his driving test in March, but his story has just caught media attention.