Two transgender women recently were
told by the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that they
could not be photographed as they appear regularly.
According to the New York-based
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), which is
representing the women, DMV officials at separate offices told the
women they could not be photographed wearing wigs, makeup and
Trudy Kitzmiller, 52, said DMV staff
referred to her as “it” when she attempted to update her driver's
license on May 10.
“This is who I am – a transgender
woman – and I have overcome many obstacles to become my true self,”
Kitzmiller said in a statement. “DMV staff not only denied me the
right to appear in my license photo as myself, they used dehumanizing
language to address me. The experience was humiliating and wrong. I
am asking the DMV to allow me to retake my license photo as I
regularly appear and to treat transgender people fairly moving
forward. I want to move on with my life and participate fully in
society with an ID that accurately reflects who I am.”
Forty-five-year-old Kristen Skinner of
Ranson also alleges she was called “it” by DMV staff in Charles
Town on January 7.
“It has taken me a long time to
become the woman that I am today, and it has not been easy. The DMV
treated me horribly,” Skinner said. “I was simply trying to
update my driver's license to reflect who I truly am as a transgender
woman. Instead I was told to alter how I normally appear so that I
would look like a man and was called 'it' in the process. The DMV
should right this wrong by allowing me to take my photo as I
regularly appear. No one deserves to be subjected to the
discrimination I faced at the DMV.”
TLDEF is calling on the West Virginia
DMV to allow the women to retake their license photos while appearing
as they normally do.
“Other women are permitted to wear
makeup and items that facilitate female gender expression in their
driver's license photos as a matter of course, yet Trudy and Kristen
were targeted for suppression because they are transgender women,”
TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman said
in a letter to the DMV.