UPDATE — Trans-unfriendly DMV finds themselves at the receiving end of a federal lawsuit

Chase CulpepperLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — UPDATED April 23. 2015 — Settlement reached. From the LA Times:

“As part of a legal settlement announced Wednesday, South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles will allow a transgender teenager to wear makeup and women’s clothing for her driver’s license photo, rather than requiring her to dress like a boy.

Chase Culpepper, 17, contended in a federal lawsuit that DMV officials had violated her constitutional rights last year by refusing to allow her to have her photo taken as she usually appears.

Under the terms of the settlement, the DMV will revise its policy on photo credentials and train its employees in treating “transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals,” according to court records.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of my lawsuit,” Chase said in a statement. “My clothing and makeup reflect who I am. From Day 1, all I wanted was to get a driver’s license that looks like me. Now I will be able to do that. It was hurtful to be singled out for being transgender and made to feel that somehow I wasn’t good enough.”

Ethan Rice, a staff attorney with the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represented Chase, said: “People should be able to get a driver’s license without being subjected to sex discrimination.… The policy changes and training that the DMV will implement in response to Chase’s lawsuit will help all transgender and gender-nonconforming South Carolina residents in the future.”

t/h Remi Eris


Original article: The department of motor vehicles is among the least favorite places for visitation by transgender people — the chances for embarrassment, being outed, or a public scolding, is sky-high. While some states have addressed this, other have not. Over the summer we’ve seen multiple sites where DMV employees told trans people to take off their make-up before they can have their driver’s license photo taken.

Last March, Chase Culpepper, of Columbia, SC, who presents as female but checked the male gender marker on the application, was told that she needs to ‘look more like a boy’ and the DMV refused to take his picture until that was done.

Culpepper followed the incident up with a federal sex-discrimination lawsuit. The suit also asks the DMV fix their rules which they believe are ‘vague and discriminatory.’

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Michael Silverman on WSOC-TV: It’s a violation of his personal rights and his right to free speech under the constitution. It’s not the role of the DMV or any government agency or employee to decide how men and women ought to look.”


I’m wishing Chase luck. It’s about time we rein in the DMV’s ability to tell us how we should or shouldn’t look.

Video: http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/transgender-teen-sue-sc-over-license-photo/nhDYJ/

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-south-carolina-dmv-transgender-20150422-story.html

Chase Culpepper


Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: http://www.amazon.com/Lexie-Cannes-CourtneyODonnell/dp/B00KEYH3LQ Or get the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/

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10 replies

  1. Hope she gets a great cash settlement out of this case.

  2. it is a state thing, not a trans thing. I’m not even allowed to smile when I’m photographed. I work for the gov. They claim smiling and make up distorts the facial features. Even the woman are told to remove their make up and don’t smile.

  3. Its sad to see that but I’m very annoyed you referred her in male pronouns, she is a woman not a he/his. Learn to be more sensitive who ever wrote this piece.

  4. think the dmvs need to be more trans friendly in all states quit worryong bout whayts bewtwen the legs

  5. Sorry but HE is a CROSSDRESSER. He does NOT identify as female nor does HE consider his gender to be female. He is simply a boy in drag throwing out the “trans” card to get media attention to his benefit regarding the DMV matter. I, a transgender female, side w the DMV. Sorry but throwin on make up and a bra for a few hours doesn’t make you a trans woman. You’re stil a cis man who identifies as a male. Lets be real.

    • 1) you’ll need to furnish proof that the person is doing this solely for media attention. 2) Crossdressers are also protected under trans rights/protection. Those that intend to harm trans people do not differentiate between a transsexual or crossdresser. We’re all one and the same.

  6. I’ve got to go update my address and photo on my lisence next week hope I don’t have problems.


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