Androgynous Teen Sues South Carolina DMV over License Photo

Chase Culpepper is an androgynous teen boy who wears makeup and sometimes women’s clothing. He is now sixteen years old, which means he has come into conflict with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Scales of Justice

According to KMOV in St. Louis,

During a news conference Tuesday at the Statehouse in Columbia, he told reporters that being ordered by officials to remove what they called a disguise was degrading.

“I left the DMV feeling humiliated,” Culpepper said. “I want to be myself and have a driver’s license photo that reflects that.”

After passing his driving test in March, Culpepper went to get his license at a DMV office in Anderson, about 100 miles northwest of Columbia. That day, as is the case every day, Culpepper wore makeup and women’s clothing.

But the agency wouldn’t let Culpepper wear makeup for a photo because of a policy that bans license pictures when someone is purposefully altering his or her appearance. After several attempts, Culpepper says the makeup was removed to the satisfaction of DMV employees, and a license photo was ultimately taken.

In June, a New York group known as the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund wrote to DMV officials, asking that Culpepper be allowed to have a new photo taken that’s more reflective of his daily attire. The agency refused, citing DMV policy saying that “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.”

The group assisted in Culpepper’s lawsuit, writing in the complaint that the policy is unconstitutionally vague and should be discarded, and that he should be allowed to take a new photo.

The policy “lets DMV employees arbitrarily decide how men and women need to look without regard for the rights of the people that they are supposed to serve,” Michael Silverman, the fund’s executive director, said Tuesday. “Chase should be allowed to get a driver’s license without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

This is the problem. DMV employees don’t arbitrarily decide how men and women need to look. Rather, men and women in society develop those customs. The DMV employees were not being arbitrary; Culpepper was being arbitrary. He was demanding that people who didn’t know him and couldn’t possibly know for sure that he dressed girlishly all the time accomodate him and trust him. These people had a legal responsibility to provide a driver’s license photo ID that was reasonably likely to match Culpepper’s appearance. To them, it looked as if he came in disguise.

This whole story reminds me of the “bear bar” in Denver that turned away a homosexual man dressed like a woman because his appearance didn’t match the picture on his driver’s license.

So what do we do about this? I have no idea. Our pluralistic culture is about to reach the point of paralysis as everyone pretends that everyone who is “normal” or “average” is just a hater trying to repress them.

Fashions change over time, but the transgender delusion is shoving disruptions onto the culture backed up with a strong dose of self-righteousness. If Culpepper really dresses that way, perhaps the DMV should accommodate him. But his whining about being “humiliated” sounds like an instance of “first world problems.” Like most spoiled brats in this country, Culpepper is blessed to have no idea what it means to really be humiliated.