South Carolina DMV Battles Gender Bender

Currently, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has got its hands full with the LBGT community after forcing a gender-bending teenager to take off his make-up for a driver’s license photo.

chase5Chase Culpepper, age 16, was born a male and identifies as one, but says that he prefers to RuPaul it out in public by wearing women’s clothing and makeup. This, however, caused a stir in a small South Carolina town on March 3rd of this year. According to reports, Culpepper went to the DMV in Anderson County to get his driver’s license after acing his driving test and was told that he needed to straighten up (all puns intended).

DMV employees told him that because his driver’s license said male, he needs to look like a male for the photograph. Another employee told him he needed to take off his disguise. This, of course, did not sit well with the hormonal (???) teen.

chase7In a publicly released statement, Culpepper says, “This is who I am and my clothing and makeup reflects that. The Department of Motor Vehicles should not have forced me to remove my makeup simply because my appearance does not meet their expectations of what a boy should look like. I just want the freedom to be who I am without the DMV telling me that I’m somehow not good enough.”

The statement by Culpepper doesn’t quite add up, though. By wearing makeup, he is not being who he really is- which, of course, is a man- but is indeed actually wearing a disguise that could lead to confusion and potential problems.

The DMV is not budging on the matter, either. They say that they are simply enforcing laws from the state. According to state mandates, license applicants can’t 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.”

Now, Culpepper is pushing back and has recruited the help of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. It’s unclear what will happen next, but some gun blazing war of attrition can probably be expected.

chase6Maybe Culpepper wins, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, it’s a showdown that will be entertaining, especially since it’s in South Carolina.

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