Transgender Individual Denied by DMV

| by Paul Brown

Chase Culpepper of Anderson, S.C. has just been told that he cannot retake his driver's license photo wearing makeup. The 16 year-old transgender individual "regularly wears makeup and androgynous or girls' clothing" and wished to have this reflected in his identification card, but the South Carolina D.M.V. has denied him this request.

According to Fox News, "Beth Parks, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, said the agency has received the letter and will be responding that a new photo will not be permitted."

As Ms. Parks put it, "If it's Thomas Jones on the license and yet it looks like a female, that is very confusing for (the authorities). They want to know what the identity is."

This brings up a more pertinent issue, however. Some might argue that if the transgender individual dresses as a female, the picture on their license should reflect that. If the person in question dresses as one gender but is pictured in their license as another gender, would this not be confusing for authorities as well?

"Chase's freedom to express his gender should not be restricted by DMV staff," Michel Silverman, the executive director of New York group The Transgender Legal Defense & Education fund wrote in a letter to the South Carolina DMV. "He is entitled to be who he is and express that without interference from government actors."

In recent years, there has been a strengthened sense of identity among transgender individuals. As a result of this, many movements have taken root across the world for transgender rights and recognition.

The case of young Chase in South Carolina is an embodiment of the nuances and complexities of transgender issues in America and all around the free world.