The family of a South Carolina teen who was told to remove his makeup before being photographed for a driver’s license is suing the Department of Motor Vehicles in federal court.
16-year-old Chase Culpepper, who identifies as gender non-conforming and uses male pronouns, was told his every-day makeup could be considered a “disguise” and was ordered to remove it when he attempted to get his license in March.
“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 said.
The New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund got involved on Chase’s behalf, establishing contact with the DMV and requesting they reconsider and allow him to take the photo with the makeup on. According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the DMV never responded to the request.
The suit, which was filed by Chase’s mother, argues that the policy is unconstitutional.
“Chase is entitled to be himself and to express his gender non-conformity without interference from the South Carolina DMV,” Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Michael Silverman said in a statement released Tuesday. “It is not the role of the DMV or any government agency or employee to decide how men and women should look.”