Teen Suing DMV for Making Him Remove Makeup to Get His License

A South Carolina 16-year-old is suing the state Department of Motor Vehicles, claiming he was told to remove his makeup before he could have his driver's license photo taken.

Chase Culpepper wears makeup and women's clothing nearly every day, and identifies as gender non-conforming. The teen says he was told he couldn't get his driver's license unless he posed for a clean-faced photo, because his makeup could be considered a "disguise."

"They said he was wearing a disguise," said Chase's mom, Teresa Culpepper, who filed suit on his behalf, "It was very hurtful. He was absolutely devastated. That's who he is 24/7."

The lawsuit (PDF), which names the director of the South Carolina DMV and the manager of the Anderson, S.C., branch where Chase got his license, asks that Chase be allowed to retake his photo with the makeup on.

A DMV spokesperson told WYFF that the employees followed a policy that's been in place since 2009. It reads, "At no time will an applicant 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."

Chase and his mom say it's the photo without makeup that misrepresents his identity. Their lawsuit also seeks to have that policy changed, claiming it's unconstitutionally overbroad and gives too much discretion to DMV employees.

[h/t BuzzFeed, Photo: WYFF]