South Carolina’s motor vehicles agency will change its driver’s license photo policy as part of a settlement reached with a transgender teenager who was required to remove her makeup for her picture last year, lawyers said on Wednesday.
Chase Culpepper, 17, accused the state Department of Motor Vehicles of sex discrimination and violating her free speech rights in a lawsuit filed in federal court in September.
Under the terms of the settlement, approved on Monday in U.S. District Court in Columbia, the agency will allow license applicants to be photographed the way they regularly appear, even when their makeup, clothing or accessories do not match traditional expectations of gender.
“From day one, all I wanted was to get a driver’s license that looks like me,” said Culpepper, who was born male. “Now I will be able to do that.”
The teen said she was humiliated when workers at the DMV office in Anderson, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of the state capital Columbia, told her she needed to “look male” for her license photo in March 2014. They let her wear pearl earrings but demanded she remove the mascara and eye shadow she regularly wore before they would take her photo.