Male Teen Forced to Remove Make-up For First Driver’s License Photo



To be different in society almost always guarantees a harder path in life, that was certainly the case for Chase Culpepper. Chase Culpepper, 16, has male listed on his legal identification, but he wears makeup. The makeup posed a problem when he passed his South Carolina driving test and was ready to take his first driver’s license photo at the local DMV in Anderson. Culpepper, who wears makeup every day, was told he had to remove it or the photo would not be taken. According to the South Carolina DMV’s photo policy, which was updated in 2009, “At no time will 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.” Beth Parks, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson, says, “When this young man has to show his ID, his ID shows that he’s male. The card says he’s male [and therefore], he needs to look like a male.” The South Carolina DMV honors transgender individuals only if their name and gender is legally changed through the court system and reflects their updated identification documents. Although Culpepper received his driver’s license in March, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund reached out to the DMV on behalf of Culpepper on June 9. They backed his claims that his rights were violated and supported Culpepper in wanting to retake his photo with make-up. Culpepper is currently looking to retake his test and take another photo, this time with the makeup on.

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