This is just so awful! We feel terrible for this poor teen!
Chase Culpepper is a 16-year-old boy who wears androgynous or women's clothing and makeup. Because that's who he is and that's how he feels comfortable.
But when he went to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to get his driver's license photo taken, he was met with ignorance and disapproval.
The DMV employees said he didn't look like a boy should and one even called his makeup a disguise!
Chase issued a press release after the whole incident, saying:
"This is who I am and my clothing and makeup reflect 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."
That's so awful! We can't believe this young teen had to go through such bigotry so early in their life.
Thankfully, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) sent a letter to the DMV on Chase's behalf.
Part of it read:
"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."
TLDEF has asked that the DMV allow Chase to retake his picture but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
According to a DMV rep:
"If it says male [on the license], that's what they're gonna look for. They expect the photo to be of a man. If they stop somebody and they're dressed as a woman, they can straighten that out."
This seems archaic and backwards and we can't believe they're being so staunch in their position on the matter.
Let him wear makeup! This country was built on freedom and we hold self-expression to be one of our most sacred ideals!
Keep on doing you, Chase, we support you!
[Image via Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.]