South Carolina DMV Settles With Boy Who Sued to Wear Makeup for Driver’s License Photo

CulpepperCOLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) has settled with a male teenager who filed a lawsuit last year when he was asked to remove his makeup for his driver’s license photo.

As previously reported, Chase Culpepper, 17, and his mother Teresa sued the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) last September after the teen was advised by the Anderson DMV that he could not wear makeup for the photograph because he would not look like a male. The department forbids residents from “purposely altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity.”

According to reports, Culpepper frequently wears makeup and women’s clothing, and at the time of the incident considered himself to be “gender non-conforming.” He was permitted to wear pearl earrings for the photograph, but was told that he must wash off his makeup.

“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,” he told reporters. “And unfortunately, a lot of people like me have to go through this.”

Culpepper’s mother likewise said that she also considered the SCDMV’s requirement to be unreasonable.

“[I was] angry, upset [and] heartbroken that the government was telling my son, ‘You must conform to our ideals of what a man should look like,’” she stated.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund sent a letter to the SCDMV demanding that Culpepper be allowed to re-take his photograph with his make-up on, but as no response was received, the organization filed a federal complaint about the matter.

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Last week, it was announced that the DMV had reached a settlement with the teen to allow him—and all other males who consider themselves to be “gender non-conforming” or “transgender”—to wear makeup for their driver’s license photographs.

“[T]he South Carolina DMV will (1) change its photo policy to allow license applicants to be photographed the way they appear regularly, even when their hair, makeup or clothing doesn’t match the DMV’s expectations of how a man or a woman should look; (2) implement training for DMV employees that addresses the new policy and the professional treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals; (3) allow Chase to return to the DMV to get her license photograph taken wearing makeup; and (4) apologize to Chase for how she was treated at the DMV,” the Fund outlined.

Culpepper has since decided to identify as transgender.

“Transgender and gender nonconforming people are entitled to be themselves without interference from the DMV,” said Fund staff attorney Ethan Rice in a statement. “It is not the role of the DMV or its employees to decide how men and women should look.”

Some had stated that they believed the DMV was justified in its original requirement, and that the teen should have simply followed the rules.

“The SCDMV is correct,” one commenter stated. “He is a man and needs to be represented/imaged as a man on his license! This is the law and that is it!”

“If it’s Thomas Jones on the license and yet it looks like a female, that is very confusing for [the police],” DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks told the Associated Press last fall. “They want to know what the identity is.”


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  • robertzaccour

    He’s a gender-challenged male.

  • The Last Trump

    Awesome. Now I can wear a red wig, a dress and some makeup and make myself absolutely unrecognizable from my OWN PHOTO I.D.!
    What a joke this country has become.
    Did you ever even imagine a time when you could have TWO or MORE ID’s to cycle through as it suits you? Absolute ridiculous madness.
    I think I sense a fire and brimstone storm coming. Gotta go get an umbrella.

    • UmustBKiddinMe

      “Now I can wear a red wig, a dress and some makeup and make myself absolutely unrecognizable from my OWN PHOTO I.D.!”

      Oh silly. That’s how everyone WOULD know it was you.

    • Gloria Lynn Truscott

      I agree with you 100% wow this is so wrong and the DMV and others well now instead of sticking to their rules are allowing other people to have them changed to suit them well this is wrong in all ways as far as I am concerned.

  • Bill

    girl. they settled with the girl who wore makeup for her photo

    • The Last Trump

      Newsflash Bill. Putting on makeup does not make anyone a girl. Ever.
      Neither does “feeling” like a girl. Kind of goes a little bit deeper than that.
      Like genetically on a molecular level.
      Stop mental illness. Stop the LGBT agenda. Thank you.

      • Bill

        transgenders is genetic. the brain is wired to be female but the body is male.

        • The Last Trump

          Uh huh. And I feel like I’m Margaret Thatcher.
          Must have got those darn wires crossed somewhere.
          No worries. The liberal left will coddle me and “support” me in my fantasy and call all of my deniers hateful bigots. Go figure.

          • Bill

            you’re just a pathetic bigot. look up some actual science on transgenders

          • The Last Trump

            As I was saying…
            Thanks for proving the point, bud.
            Remember now, I am to be addressed as “Maggie”.
            Don’t be a hater Bill! Don’t be LGTB!

          • Bill

            ignorance isn’t bliss trumpy. look up the science before you start spouting that crap

          • The Last Trump

            It’s “Maggie.” Bigot.

          • Bill

            shut up and look it up

          • The Last Trump

            Guess I should have said ignorant bigot. Look that up. 😉

          • Bill

            piss off. there’s a difference between thinking that you’re a famous person and being transgender which you would know if you actually looked it

          • The Last Trump

            Is it that…..nobody asks for your autograph?
            Hee, hee! “Piss off”!
            Ahhh, Bill! You’re too cute for words.
            Trolling Christian websites with your hateful LGBT agenda and telling the CHRISTIANS there to piss off! Special kind of stup!d, my friend. You and me gonna be real close here 😉

          • Bill

            you’re and idiot and you are losing the culture war

          • The Last Trump

            Always good to hear from you Bill. Come again my friend.
            Spread the hate and bigotry that your LGBT agenda is so well known for. Every time you post, another person comes to Christ, repulsed by what your militant and hateful group has to “offer.” Ooops, I should have said impose. Inflict. Force. You get the picture.
            It’s like gays and lesbians constantly trolling Christian websites forcefully attempting to impose their own beliefs on …well, look who I’m talking to! I don’t have to tell YOU! 😉

          • Bill

            and yet they will win so piss off you worthless pig

          • The Last Trump

            Aw, come on bigot!
            Let me REALLY have it! You LGBT types can hate a lot better than THAT! Don’t you want to burn down my house?
            Disappointing Bill. Perhaps you’re just a “pretender”.
            Merely gender “confused”.
            Not nearly enough hate and bigotry pouring out of you yet!

          • Bill

            tolerance of intolerance is cowardice. so why should I show you pigs any kind of tolerance?

          • The Last Trump

            That’s it, you little hate filled bigot.
            Let it all out. Can’t keep all that hate bottled up. Not good for you. 🙂

          • Bill

            answer the question pig

          • The Last Trump

            “Grrrr…arrrgh! Down with Christians!…..Grrrr..”

          • Bill

            down with bigoted stupid pigs

          • The Last Trump

            I’m with ya, brother!
            Down with LGBT!! 😉

          • Bill

            you’re the one that refuses to educate yourself

          • Gloria Lynn Truscott

            I agree and I feel the same and so tired of the LGBT forcing their lifestyle on us .

          • MisterPine

            He won’t be happy until he can bring on the rapture. Which I am sure he plans to watch with popcorn in a front row seat while all his enemies burn in the lake of fire.

          • Gloria Lynn Truscott

            Well said Last Trump

          • Gloria Lynn Truscott

            I do not have to cause I know what is real and the difference and you are not born a boy but are a girl really you need to get a clue

          • Bill

            I’m not transgender. I just support them and actually understand them

          • Ambulance Chaser

            The American Psychological Association recognizea transgenderism and recommends, as treatment, that the patient be treated as the gender he or she conforms to. Are you smarter than the APA? Where did you get your psychology degree?

        • Gloria Lynn Truscott

          Sorry I do not buy it as God intended a man to born as a man and a girl to be born as a girl nothing more.

          • Bill

            god is irrelevant. studies done on transgenders show that their brains are wired to the gender they identify as.

      • Gloria Lynn Truscott

        Well said and I feel the same way and I think wow what has this world come to as people are afraid to abide to their own rules which we have been following for years and I am so tired of this oh I am supposed to be a girl or say a boy you are what you are and makeup does not make you a girl.

  • FoJC_Forever

    He looks like a boy trying to look like a girl by putting on make-up.

    The real issue is if the altered appearance via make-up looks drastically different from his appearance without make-up. An appearance baseline has to be established. From the baseline, any altered appearance can then be calculated.

    • Bill

      wouldn’t they apply to either gender?

      • FoJC_Forever

        Sure. A person shouldn’t be able to take a photo for an official ID which effectively alters how they truly look. The photo is used by law enforcement, and others who require a photo ID, to verify the identity (age, address, etc.) of the person holding the ID. If you allow anyone to appear however they want on a photo ID, then you effectively nullify the basic premise of the photo ID.

    • Gloria Lynn Truscott

      And I agree and from the picture I seen with his makeup on and hair done etc he does not look as he really should without it and therefore the picture shows a different person not who he is so yes his appearance is altered.

  • http://bbcatholics.blogspot.com/ OneBreadOneBody

    I would be interested in what law enforcement officers feel about this. The ONLY reason your picture is on a license is to provide additional conformation that you are the person listed on the license. You’re picture should “conform” to you normal appearance. It has absolutely nothing to do with gender identification. The state wrongly assumed that the applicant regularly appeared without makeup.

    Think about it: you’re not even allowed to SMILE when you have a passport picture taken. Better technology is coming with more reliable biometrics, but for now faces will have to do.

    • Paul Hiett

      So then how much makeup is tolerable for women? I’m sure you know that makeup on women can make them appear drastically different from how they look in real life. Perhaps no makeup at all for anyone would be more appropriate?

      • http://bbcatholics.blogspot.com/ OneBreadOneBody

        Perhaps. Personally, I would like my picture taken dressed as an evil clown but the DMV has NO sense of humor.

  • uzza

    What I’d like to know is why they thought he was a male. Someboy comes in looking like a girl I assume they’re a girl, I don’t go doing a crotch inspection on every person I meet. WTH?