Like so many people around the country, 16-year-old Chase Culpepper of South Carolina is preparing for a fight with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Culpeper's case, though, is more troubling than the norm.

You see, Culpepper is gender-nonconforming. He was born a male, and identifies as one, but wears gender-neutral or women's clothing, as well as makeup, every day.

Culpepper identifies as a male, but wears gender-neutral or women's clothing, as well as makeup, every day.

He aced his driving test, but when it came time to report to the local branch of the South Carolina DMV, he ran into trouble with officials. Employees at the Anderson, SC branch informed Culpepper that he'd need to remove his makeup for his license picture.

"They said he was wearing a disguise," Theresa Culpepper, Chase's mother, told local NBC affiliate WYFF-4. This is despite the fact that Culpepper dresses this way everyday.

According to Beth Parks, a spokesperson with the South Carolina DMV, the employees in Anderson were simply obeying a policy that states that a license applicant 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."

"When this young man has to show his ID, his ID shows that he's male. The card says he's male, he needs to look like a male," Parks said.

If applicants proceed through the court system and have their name and gender legally changed, the DMV and police will honor that, Parks added. The only problem is, Culpepper doesn't seem to have any desire to be known as a woman.

While the 16-year-old went along with the policy and removed his makeup for the photo (you can see a before-and-after photo above), he regretted his decision, and has since requested that the DMV allow him to retake his license picture, issuing the following statement, obtained by Huffpost Gay Voices:

"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."

Culpepper has also recruited the assistance of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which issued a letter to the DMV requesting that Culpepper be allowed to retake his photo, saying:

"In the end, Chase was told that he could not wear makeup simply because boys typically do not wear makeup. It was not because his makeup acted as any type of disguise of his identity. Sex stereotypes like this do not justify a government agency's restriction of constitutionally protected expression."

It's unclear right now if Culpepper will be allowed to retake his photo. Take a look below for the news report on the story.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 212 Comments
      vi_per
      • 1 Year Ago
      You know what's worse? Autoplay videos.
        Brodz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vi_per
        Autoplay videos are so bad. What kind of world is it where we put up with that?
      Jerry
      • 1 Year Ago
      I tend to try to look drunk or be plowed when I get my driver's license picture. It is a defense strategy.
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Since a driver's license is also a primary form of visual identification, maybe no one should be allowed to wear makeup in their photo.
      NightFlight
      • 1 Year Ago
      You need to be identifiable, period. Don't matter what race, religion, sex, or sexual preference.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the rule says "no make up" for everyone (women, men), then so shall be it, no exceptions. But if women are allowed to wear make up for the picture, then so should this guy. Many men wear some form of make up already, and it doesn't say anywhere that make up is reserved for women only.
      Agilis
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ok this is just stupid. I understand both sides but look, if on the license he is listed as a male, then, his license picture needs to clearly show him as a male so anyone, old, young, stupid, smart, can clearly make the *correct* comparison and to prevent possible ridicule or judgement. This kid should have to remove the make-up for those reasons only. Now even more stupid... "In the end, Chase was told that he could not wear makeup simply because boys typically do not wear makeup. It was not because his makeup acted as any type of disguise of his identity. Sex stereotypes like this do not justify a government agency's restriction of constitutionally protected expression." Which is absolutely the wrong reason in today's society why this kid was forced to remove his make-up. If that is there reason, and they are too stupid to get a clue, then I say the kid can wear his make-up proudly.
        tump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Agilis
        That's like saying that a woman that's 75 can't wear makeup to make herself look 30. There is no requirement for male or female to "look" the stereotype. Since clothing is not mandated by law (because we're not a theocracy, mind you), a person can wear whatever they want. The license should reflect the person YOU SEE in front of you.
        Agilis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Agilis
        Their*
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can understand where the DMV was coming from here, but if that's how he normally dresses then I don't see the issue. The two pictures don't even look all that much different anyway. My appearance changed a lot more when I didn't shave for about 4 months, and started to look like the "Unabomber".
      Revis Goodworth
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unless this punk loses his set and becomes a faux woman, then he needs to be taught that his is a man and his makeup and dress are not acceptable. He can wear his costume any time he wants; but at the DMV he needs to man up and at least be a dude for a photograph. Afterwards, he can return to his own weird world where he can be the she he always wanted to be. This world is getting all messed up when the freaks think they dictate the terms of society.
        little weeper
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        Your mother reeked of fish the day she birthed you and that why you are the way you are.
        reattadudes
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        I can only imagine being your child, and being gay. nothin' beatin' the crap out of 'em won't cure, right? such masculinity issues; why are you so concerned about someone else? idea sound too tempting?
        Making11s
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        The state should tell you how to dress? Interesting perspective.
        Mr.Roadrage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        And why exactly do all males have to look the same? Not every man has to sport a crew cut, moustache and baseball cap. Would you mandate that a woman with short hair and "masculine" clothing must look more feminine befor being photographed?
      Fins99
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is so absurd....If he wants to walk around looking like a girl, lizard or banana thats fine...but I smell a rat here. This is a set up to bring publicity to his cause and hit the lawsuit lottery.
      Katherine Dimacale
      • 3 Months Ago
      Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a dmv drivers license form, I found a blank form here http://bit.ly/1HdR7ur
      Katherine Dimacale
      • 3 Months Ago
      Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a dmv drivers license form, I found a blank form here http://bit.ly/1HdR7ur
      Jesus!
      • 1 Year Ago
      The DMV is correct for upholding the law. Those are the rules. This boy needs to worry about graduating high school and getting into college. This "We want everyone to feel good" crap is what is sending our nation in the toilet. Right should be right and wrong should be wrong. Take the makeup off, get your picture made, and get over it.
        Bungle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jesus!
        Agreed that this is far from the biggest injustice in the world. But, he chooses to wear makeup, and that's his choice as an individual. As do many women, who aren't told to take their makeup off for their driver's license photo. The issue that the DMW is raising is he "doesn't look like a man," which is an opinion, and should not be legally enforceable. If the makeup obscured his face or disguised his identity, that's one thing. That's a reasonable argument and the apparent spirit of the law. But I think any reasonable person can tell that it's him either with or without makeup.
        little weeper
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jesus!

        your wife is a trolip

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