A 16-year-old teen filed suit against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles because he wasn’t allowed to take a driver’s license photo with makeup on. Chase Culpepper is someone who is often found wearing makeup and woman’s clothes, this is his normal mode of dressing, but the DMV didn’t see it like that, according to CBS News on Sept. 2. ‘
Culpepper went to get his driver’s license at the Anderson office of the DMV and he was told he needed to remove the makeup. After several attempts at taking off the makeup, it was finally OK for Culpepper to get his picture taken for his license.
ABC News reports that the teen’s mother, Teresa Culpepper, was there for this ordeal and she said it was heartbreaking to see how they 'degraded' her child because he wore makeup. The DMV employees said they were only following the policy, which states that someone can not alter their appearance so that the photo would misrepresent their identity.
The staff at the DMV that day kept referring to the teen’s makeup as a disguise, but this is how Culpepper dresses regularly. Woman are not asked to remove their makeup when getting their license picture taken.
The lawsuit is not for money, which is a breath of fresh air. All Culpepper wants is to have his license picture taken with his make-up on, as they would award any female who walked into the DMV.
When the teen was first turned away from getting his picture taken wearing makeup, the New York group, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, wrote to the North Carolina DMV. They advocated for the DMV to revisit their policy, which is vague, and allow Culpepper a picture with his makeup on.
They too were turned down, so the next step is the court. Culpepper’s mother filed the lawsuit in court on behalf of her son.