(CNN) — A transgender rights advocacy group says the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles restricted a teen’s free speech rights by asking him to remove his makeup for a driver’s license photo.
Sixteen-year-old Chase Culpepper went to take his driver’s test in Anderson in March.
Chase considers himself “gender non-conforming,” he told CNN affiliate WYFF. He regularly wears makeup and girl’s clothes.
After passing his driver’s test, Chase went to take his photo for his license. But an employee at the office asked him to remove his makeup.
The employee told Chase he couldn’t wear “a disguise” and didn’t look “like a boy should,” the teen told the affiliate.
CNN reached out to the state DMV and was told it had a policy specifying the requirements for the photograph.
“At no time will an applicant be photographed when it appears that he or she is purposely altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity,” the policy says.
“That’s been the policy since August of 2009,” spokeswoman Beth Park said.
“Stage makeup is not acceptable because it can be used to alter appearance. Regular everyday makeup is accepted because it’s used to highlight or hide blemishes,” she said.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is now asking that the DMV allow Chase to retake his photo.
“His freedom to express his gender should not be restricted by the DMV staff,” the fund’s executive director, Michael Silverman, said.
HIS GENDER IS “MALE”, dum dums, and unless he has a sex change to reflect his “choice” of gender later on in life, he’ll always be … a MALE in the legal sense, and one who needs to take his damn DMV license picture FREE of make-up. For the same reasons women can’t wear anything covering their faces in their license pics. In fact, once upon a time here in NC you weren’t even allowed to smile in your driver’s license picture because they said it “altered your features.”
Why must every little bleeping thing be surrounded by drama? Sometimes the rules are just fine the way they are, and mean there are times when we won’t get our way. And that should be ok. Oh, but we’re living in the world of the perpetually offended so, by all means, let the “outrage” and hysteria continue …