The Department of Motor Vehicles in South Carolina has given the thumbs-up to a transgender teenager who wanted to dress like a woman for his driver’s license photograph.
A legal settlement is due to be announced Wednesday about the case, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Chase Culpepper, 17, born a boy, filed a federal suit accusing DMV officials of violating his constitutional rights by insisting his driver’s license photo portray him as a male, rather than in the girl’s clothing and makeup he usually dons.
The terms of the settlement require the DMV to change its photo policies and counsel employees on the proper way to treat “transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals,” court documents cited by the Los Angeles Times showed.
Culpepper, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the suit.
“I am thrilled with the outcome of my lawsuit,” Culpepper said. “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.”
The new policy goes into effect in May. The DMV’s existing policy states driver’s license applicants aren’t allowed to dress in ways that could disguise their true appearance.
“People should be able to get a driver’s license without being subjected to sex discrimination,” said Ethan Rice, a staff attorney with the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, in the Los Angeles Times. “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.”