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Upstate teen told to take off make

Chase Culpepper, 16, wears make up and girl's clothing every day. He considers himself gender non conforming.

CANDIDATES IS A GOOD THING. TONIGHT, THE ANDERSON D M V FINDS ITSELF IN THE MIDDLE OF CONTROVERSY ITS CENTERS AROUND SOCIETY'S DEFINITION OF GENDER ROLES. AND IT ALL BECAUSE OF A DRIVER'S LICENSE PHOTO. WYFF NEWS FOUR'S ANGELA RODRIGUEZ HAS THE STORY FROM ANDERSON. Angela Rodriguez Anderson AR: c51 he'll be the first to tell you that its complicated. Chase Culpepper was worried about passing the test not taking the photo. But his excitement faded fast when he was told that if he wanted his driver's license he would have to change his appearance. Natts car starting FOR MANY DRIVING IS A COMING OF AGE c10 11:07:05 I was nervous for driving school A TASTE OF INDEPENDENCE C10 11;07:53 I was excited as anyone would be THIS CAUTIOUS YOUNG DRIVER ACED THE TEST WITH A PERFECT SCORE. THE PHOTO. IS WHAT POSED A ROADBLOCK AT THE ANDERSON DMV OFFICE. C30 Chase Culpepper 11:17:03 she said I could not wear a disguise to my photo. According to her, me wearing makeup was a disguise and i did not look like a boy should. CHASE SHARED THESE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS. TO HIM, THIS WAS NOT ABOUT DECEPTION. HE WAS HONEST AND TOLD D M V EMPLOYEES THAT HE IS MALE. AND RELUCTANTLY, HE TOOK OFF HIS MAKEUP SO THAT HE COULD GET HIS FIRST DRIVERS LICENSE. c30 11:17:19 it was degrading. I was in shock THE 16 YEAR OLD, ONCE SO EAGER TO DRIVE, NOW REGRETS CHANGING HIS LOOK TO PLEASE THE STATE. HE IS FIGHTING FOR THE CHANCE TO RETAKE HIS PHOTO WITH MAKEUP LIKE HE WEARS EVERYDAY. C37 it was incredibly devastating FOR THE CULPEPPER FAMILY ITS' MORE THAN JUST HURT FEELINGS. THEY CALL IT DISCRIMINATION. C37 Teresa Culpepper 11:25:59 this is who he is. For him to not have makeup would be disguise in itself. STATE OFFICIALS SAY EMPLOYEES WERE SIMPLY FOLLOWING THE RULES. A POLICY ADOPTED IN 2009 STATES "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 DMV DOES, HOWEVER, MAKE EXCEPTIONS FOR MEDICAL AND religious REASONS. NATTS CAR CRANKING. C10 11:08:13 i'm telling my story because i don't want other people like me to Womens Nike Air Huarache Light Bone

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Culpepper said he ultimately removed his make up so he could get his picture taken. (Picture below: Chase once he removed make up)

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Culpepper's mother spoke to WYFF News 4's Angela Rodriguez. "They said he was wearing a disguise," said Teresa Culpepper. "It was very hurtful. He was absolutely devastated. That's who he is 24/7," said Culpepper.

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Beth Parks with DMV said the employees at the Anderson DMV followed policy. She said in Aug. of 2009 the policy was updated to say, "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."

up because he did not look the way a boy should.

Culpepper says on March 3 he went to the DMV office in Anderson with his mother to get his driver's license. He said he had already passed the test and was told he could not have his picture taken while wearing make Nike Air Huarache Low Trainer

go through the same thing. WHAT HE WANTS NOW IS TO STEER THE ENTIRE STATE IN A NEW DIRECTION. ONE THAT TAKES THE FOCUS OFF OF LOOKS AND LABELS. GIVING SPECIAL CONSIDERATION THOSE WHO SEE THEMSELVES DIFFERENTLY THAN SOCIETY DICTATES. AR c58 Angela Rodriguez Anderson Huaraches Air Womens b/c the dmv employees followed policy it does not appear that chase will get to retake that photo without a battle. the family is considering the possibility of legal action. Angela Rodriguez Anderson

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"Chase's freedom to express his gender should not be restricted by DMV staff," said TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman in the letter to the DMV. "He is entitled to be who he is and to express that without interference from government actors. Forcing Chase to remove his makeup prior to taking his driver's license photo restricts his free speech rights in violation of state and federal constitutional protections."

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and Education Fund is calling upon the SCDMV to allow Culpepper to retake his picture.

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