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The DMV Refused To Give A 16-Year-Old Boy His License Until He Removed His Makeup

"According to [the DMV employee] me wearing makeup would be a disguise," the South Carolina teen recalled.

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The DMV employee told Chase that he "could not wear a disguise" to take his license picture, he told WYFF4, because he "did not look like a boy."


Although Chase ultimately took his makeup off for the photo (bottom right), he said he now regrets changing his look and wants to retake his photo, which the agency will not allow.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund has taken up Chase's case, and is calling on the SCDMV to allow the teen to retake his picture.!Z5U5U

"Chase’s freedom to express his gender should not be restricted by DMV staff,” TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman wrote in a letter to the DMV.

He added, “In the end, Chase was told that he could not wear makeup simply because boys typically do not wear makeup. 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."

While the DMV refuses to allow the teen to retake the photo, the family is now considering legal action.

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"I'm sharing my story because I just don't want to see other people like me have to go through this," Chase said.

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Rachel Zarrell at

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