Transgender woman says she was forced to remove makeup for license photo: 'It hurts, a lot'

A Utah transgender woman said she was humiliated and hurt this week when she was forced to remove her makeup for a driver's license photo.

Jaydee Dolinar, a 33-year-old graduate teaching assistant and Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, told NBC News she was fully prepared when she arrived at the Fairpark Driver License Office last Wednesday to obtain a replacement license after her purse was stolen. 

Although Dolinar, who is in the process of changing her gender marker and legal name, says she brought paperwork to the facility to prove her identity, her experience at the license office went anything but smoothly. 

Dolinar told KSTU that shortly after she had her first photo taken and filled out the corresponding paperwork, one of the employees who had been helping her disappeared and returned with a supervisor, who told her she would need to remove her makeup, according to an unspecified "state policy."

"Because my appearance didn't match my gender, it wouldn't be able to be picked up by face recognition software," Dolinar recalled the manager telling her, before adding that they could not "have confusion in the system."

When Dolinar asked the supervisor what she should do, the woman allegedly told her, "We have hand sanitizer you can use."

"So I used the hand sanitizer and paper towels and I scrubbed it all off," Dolinar recalled, saying she did so through tears in the middle of the office as onlookers watched. "That made me feel like I shouldn't be a part of (the transgender) community."

Chris Caras, Director of the Utah Department of Public Safety Driver License Division, told KTSU the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding by the supervisor over a policy that prohibits "extreme makeup" during license photos. That rule, Caras said, is meant to prevent fraud.

"We would definitely never support disrespecting any individual in our offices," he told the station. "We obviously would not want anything like this to happen in one of our offices ever again."

Despite the explanation, Dolinar slammed the act as "completely discriminatory."

"It hurts, a lot," she said. "I don't want anybody to have to experience this. Just have some humanity."

In a statement, Sue Robbins, chair of the board of directors of Transgender Education Advocates of Utah, told NBC News the organization is in contact with the office to prevent future incidences.  

"Trans people should be able to live our lives the way they feel," Robbins told the outlet. “The license should match the way a person presents on a regular basis and reflect their regular appearance, so to make them present differently is discriminatory."

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