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Besides all else this is about, this is one cute kid

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My partner and I talked about this yesterday, and I see the cop's point: if the kid was born male, but is wearing makeup and a hair style that makes them look female, this is going to confuse and annoy police dealing with the scene of an accident or a major crime. I'm not in favor of people wearing headdresses, hiding under shawls, or otherwise covering their real face when it comes to a legal document like a driver's license.

If the kid got a sex change operation and decided to identify as female, then I'd have no problem with it. I concede that gender identity is a personal choice, but there's a line that gets crossed when you start dealing with law and legal IDs. There are similar cases going on in areas with large Muslim populations where the women where burkas due to religious decrees. Would this suffice for a driver's license photo?


I'm all for religious freedom, but there's a point where freedom of expression infringes on other people's rights and the existing laws we have in the country. In other words: wear what you want in your personal life, but when it comes to a driver's license, you gotta toe the line. If you don't like the law, get it changed.

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But the kid looked almost exactly the same with and without makeup! He wasn't disguising himself at all. And, as he's always wearing makeup, his point is that the picture without it doesn't portray him as he actually is. I think his point is much more valid than the one being espoused by the state.

He says he's still in the process of finding out who he is. At his age, that seems very logical to me. I think the state is way out of line here. What difference would it make if they didn't make a fuss about this? If they allowed him to have the photo the way he wants it? As there are so few people who have this issue, making a deal out of it doesn't make much sense and does no one any good.


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Looking at how he intended to appear, it seems that a woman can wear the equivalent amount of makeup in her photo, so that means he should be able to wear that amount as well.

On top of that, what happens when he's pulled over all made-up and his photo looks plain? Then the cop has to figure out if it's really him? I bet if a woman showed up with a crew cut and no make up, they wouldn't talk about her trying to disguise herself for later, right?

Bringing the whole idea of disguise into it, as the DMV did, is so completely ridiculous, since deceit is putting on scars or moles or colored contacts and other things that make you seem like a different person than you are in regular life. If a woman wearing that amount of make up isn't accused of trying to disguise herself why should a boy?

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It seems bureaucrats are the same the world over... unthinking, unyielding, and unintelligent. Sigh.

Full marks to Chase for fighting a nonsensical decision.

Oh, and you're right, Cole... he is cute :)

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I don't mind somebody who wants to get the law changed, but the law on driver's license photographs is pretty clear. There's only so many exceptions they can make.

I once almost got cited because my own driver's license noted I needed glasses, but since I got the license (and photo) I got Lasik eye surgery, so I now had almost 20/20 vision for driving. They wrote me an interim ticket, and I had to go in and get a new license reflecting the fact that I no longer needed eyeglasses, and shot a new photo of me without glasses. Problem solved, ticket torn up.

Let's take this to an extreme: If I wanted to get a driver's license photograph while I was wearing a Frankenstein mask, should that be allowed? How much makeup is too much? What if I insisted on wearing a hat? The state of South Carolina made this statement:

The rule against disguises is ostensibly one to suppress criminal activity. The DMV makes exceptions for “religious” and “medical” reasons. A DMV spokesman cited this 2009 policy: “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 Transgender Legal & Educational Defense fund made this statement:

Chase’s freedom to express his gender should not be restricted by DMV staff. 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.

It's an interesting legal problem. But I think at some point, people are just rattling cages and trying to cause trouble. I've always had a big problem with people who make drastic changes in their public appearances, because my initial response is invariably, "this is somebody who is desperately trying to get attention." I have this problem with somebody who has a green mohawk and piercings all over their face, nose, and ears, wears loud, obnoxious clothes, chains and body armor, comic book outfits, weird shoes, stuff like that. I get that to some extent, people have the right to express themselves, but I think there's a line that crosses where they go right into Bizarroville. Rock & roll clothes I can understand (though it's not my thing), and I get there are people who enjoy dressing up in wild clothes when they go out. But a whole 24/7 thing just seems to me like somebody is spending a huge amount of time at making a very loud statement in order to get noticed.

Here's a shot of the kid in question:


If I looked like this, I would not want to be put in the Men's jail at 2AM on a Saturday night on drunk driving charges. But I think this is a risk anybody who goes in for a TG lifestyle is going to risk.

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Okay, the earrings are certainly more feminine than masculine, but I fail to see where Chase's (not 'the kid in question') physical appearance is altered by the subtle application of makeup. His is, as he describes himself, gender non-specific, not just psychologically but physically. That face could be male or female, with or without makeup. The more confusing aspect of his appearance would be the feminine clothing he wears regularly. But since a DMV photo is a headshot, that would not be visible in the photo. I don't recall the DMV requiring Chase to change his clothing to appear more masculine. The statements of the DMV say repeatedly that the makeup would confuse law enforcement. Really? WTF is that all about. I was recently at the DMV office here in Florida and I didn't see any of the half dozen women getting photos taken being asked to remove their makeup. And a couple of them were obviously wearing HEAVY makeup. Talk about appearance altering. Despite what the DMV said, they were zeroed in on Chase's attire and their tiny minds had to humiliate the young man. Frankly, this is just another example of our bigoted bureaucracy in action.

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Simple solution would be the rule in some European countries where no make up is allowed for anybody, male, female, transgender or gender-non-specific. The rule is the same for everybody.

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And that, my dear Nigel, is a perfectly reasonable and logical solution. Of course, expecting governmental officials in this country to exhibit anything remotely resembling reasonable and logical actions is taking us into the realm of wishful thinking. I saw a recent article where two, elementary age, boys were suspended because they were caught looking at pictures of firearms. It is apparently irrelevant that the pictures were in a school book that the school had issued the boys. Another boy got suspended because he ate his pop tart in such a way that he ended up with a very lethal gun. I imagine he had a pocket full of Reese Pieces for ammunition and intended to run amok. More injustice has been done in this world because of adherence to the 'letter of the law' and not allowing for the 'spirit of the law'.

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If you look at the picture Chase was allowed to use (which included earrings!), vs how Chase looked right before he took off his makeup, there's practically no difference.


Who wants to guess which is before and which is after?

Again, the makeup level was not even close to excessive. He wasn't dressed up like a goth kid or some Halloween witch. This was a violation of DMV's own policies which clearly don't apply in this case. Disguise, my ass.

They made him take off his makeup as part of a homophobic freak out. Nothing else fits.

I'm curious, but if some punk rocker with a green mohawk went in to have his license picture taken, what would they tell him I wonder? I see dyed mohawk guys driving cars all the time, so I know they probablyhave licenses...OK, well that's a lie. They drive vans.

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...Of course, expecting governmental officials in this country to exhibit anything remotely resembling reasonable and logical actions is taking us into the realm of wishful thinking.



...More injustice has been done in this world because of adherence to the 'letter of the law' and not allowing for the 'spirit of the law'.

There is a quote that I cannot trace the source of but it states that : "the larger the bureaucracy the more illogical it becomes." I think most governments prove the point.

The late Lord Denning who was Master of the Rolls (the highest civil judge in the English legal system) whilst speaking to a group of law students, of which I was one, was asked why judges often appeared to interpret the law in ways that appeared to make it meaningless. Lord Denning was well known for such judgements. His reply was the role of the judge was not to uphold the law but to ensure that the law was applied in a way which promoted justice. I just wish more judges took that view.

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