Most teens consider receiving their driver's license a memorable coming of age ritual, but not for one South Carolina teen.

Chase Culpepper, 16, wears makeup and dresses in women's clothes every day. He wears them when he goes to school, when he goes to his job at McDonald's and when he goes out with his friends. But when he and his mother, Teresa, went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Anderson to get his driver's license, he had to remove his makeup because the DMV would not take his photograph for his driver's license as he did not look like a boy.

"This is who I am and my clothing and makeup reflect that," Culpepper says in a release obtained by the Huffington Post. "The Department of Motor Vehicles should not have forced me to remove my makeup simply because my appearance does not meet their expectations of what a boy should look like."

Culpepper went to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which sent a letter to the DMV saying that the department violated the teen's constitutional right to express his gender and asking that Culpepper be allowed to have his license photo retaken while wearing his regular makeup and women's clothes.

South Carolina DMV spokesperson Beth Parks defended the DMV's actions, saying that it is illegal for a person's photo to be taken for his driver's license while the person is "in disguise." Parks cited a clause in the DMV's license driver policy that says: "At no time can an applicant be photographed when it appears that he or she is purposefully altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity."

Prohibiting disguises in license photos is supposedly to prevent another way for criminals to run from the law. The DMV has already made exceptions for "religious" and "medical" reasons, but apparently not for gender non-conforming persons. Parks said law enforcement officers rely on a person's driver's license photo to identify the person, and they would be very confused if the license says the person is a male but his photo looks like a female.

"If it says male, that's what they're gonna look for. They expect the photo of a man," she said.

The DMV's reasoning, however, seems to have conveniently forgotten that Culpepper is not wearing a disguise. If a police officer pulled the teen over, he would see him wearing makeup and women's clothes in real life, just as he wants to be seen on his driver's license.

"In the end, Chase was told that he could not wear makeup simply because boys typically do not wear makeup," writes [pdf] Michael D. Silverman of the transgender defense fund. "It was not because his makeup acted as any type of disguise of his identity. Sex stereotypes like this do not justify a government agency's restriction of constitutionally protected expression."

Culpepper and his mother are considering taking up legal action against the DMV. 

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