chase culpepper
Transgender Teen Wins Right to Wear What She Wants for Driver’s License Photo

Yahoo Parenting writes:

All Chase Culpepper wanted was a driver’s license photo that reflected the way she usually looks.

Instead, the transgender teen scored a legal settlement on Monday against her home state of South Carolina, which refused to let the 17-year-old take her driver’s license photo while wearing her usual makeup—telling her that she needed to look more like a male before she could sit for the photo.

“I’m thrilled, and I hope it means that no other transgender person has to have their rights violated for being different,” Chase tells Yahoo Parenting in one of her only interviews since the settlement.

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Gender nonconforming teenager forced to remove makeup for driver's license photo

In Anderson, South Carolina, a gender nonconforming teenager says the DMV wouldn’t let him take a driver’s license photo wearing makeup, because “that’s not what boys look like.”

Chase Culpepper, a 16-year-old who regularly wears makeup and androgynous or women’s clothes, went to the DMV to get his license after passing his driver’s test. But the DMV employees said he couldn’t take the photo while wearing makeup because it served as a “disguise.” The Transgender Legal Defense Fund has sent a statement to the DMV on Chase’s behalf asking them to change their decision. 

However, a representative from the DMV told HuffPost that it is unlikely Culpepper will be able to retake the picture because of a 2009 clause added to the driver’s license photo policy. The clause reads: “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.”

According to the rep, the DMV works with law enforcement on these decisions.

“If it says male [on the license], that’s what they’re gonna look for. They expect the photo to be of a man,” she said. “If they stop somebody and they’re dressed as a woman, they can straighten that out.”

Gross gross gross. This is gender policing at its finest.