17-year-old Chase Culpepper, a transgender girl from South Carolina, has just won the right to wear makeup in her driver’s license photo. But it didn’t happen without a fight.
When Culpepper and her mother originally went to the DMV to get her license last March, she was told she had to take her makeup off to “look male.” The employee explained that DMV rules prohibited applicants from taking their photos in “disguise.”
Culpepper’s mother, Teresa, filed a lawsuit last September that led to a settlement requiring the South Carolina DMV to change its photo policy. The new rules state that an “applicant is not misrepresenting his/her identity when the applicant’s makeup, clothing or accessories do not match traditional expectations of an applicant’s gender.”
DMV employees will also now be required to go through training on the new policy, as well as learn about “professional treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.”
“This is a step toward equality as it should be,” Teresa Culpepper says. “When we encountered this, we knew something had to be done.”
Chase agreed, saying, “The goal is to make [our lives] equal to anyone else’s life and guarantee basic human rights.”