Teen Sues to Retake DMV Photo With Makeup

Chase Culpepper wears makeup and women's clothing
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2014 6:22 AM CDT
Teen Sues to Retake DMV Photo With Makeup
South Carolina teen Chase Culpepper says the DMV violated his rights after he was asked to remove his makeup for his driver's license photo.   (HLN)

A 16-year-old in South Carolina wants a driver's license photo redo—but not to look better. Chase Culpepper, who describes himself as "gender nonconforming," says he wears makeup and women's clothing and jewelry every day, and that when he was forced to take off the makeup for his photo in March he was made to look different than he is. "They told me that I could not wear disguises and I need to look more like a boy," Chase told WSOCTV. But Chase, who listed himself as male on his application, says it is not a disguise but "who I am."

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which filed a federal lawsuit against the South Carolina DMV yesterday to allow Chase to take the photo with his makeup on, also wants the court to require that the state clarify its rule. "It's not the role of the DMV or any government agency or employee to decide how men and women ought to look," the group's head said. The teen's mother, Teresa Culpepper, tells HuffPost Live that Chase is actually a "stickler for policy and procedure," and that he wants to retake the photo so that it is an accurate depiction of who he is. He is not seeking any monetary compensation. (One student wasn't allowed back to middle school after transitioning to a girl.)

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