A New York gender equality group has asked the South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles to let a teenager retake his license photo while wearing makeup, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund wrote a letter to the DMV on June 9, saying the agency should have allowed 16-year-old Chase Culpepper, who wears makeup and women's clothing on a regular basis, to dress as he chose to for the picture.
"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," Parks said, reading from the policy.
Asked how that policy would apply to Chase, who claims to normally wear makeup, Parks said "his identity is as a male, and his driver's license says that he is a male, so his identity is a male."
"I understand that he does wear makeup all the time, and for women, regular everyday make up is acceptable, but it is unusual to see it on a young man," she continued.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said the DMV's policy violates the teen's free speech rights.
"He is entitled to be who he is and to express that without interference from government actors," the statement read.