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Transgender Women denied updated license photo at West Virginia DMV

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Two transgender women in West Virginia were denied their right to take their ID picture as their authentic selves. On two separate occasions the women were ordered to "take off their wigs and makeup" before being allowed to take an updated license photo.

52-year old Trudy Kitzmiller brought all supporting documentation about her transition to the Martinburgs DMV. She had with her court documents verifying her name change and documents from her doctors stating that was she under their care as part of her gender transition. But Trudy was met with hostility by DMV staff who called her “it” and ordered her to take off her wig, makeup and jewelry before they would take her photo for a new license. She protested their actions, but they denied her request to be photographed as her true self. Trudy left the office despondent and still retains her old driver’s license that does not reflect her legal name or appearance.

45-year-old Kristen Skinner went to the Charles Town DMV to update her driver’s license to reflect her new legal name and her appearance in her license photo. She was told that men cannot be photographed for a driver’s license photo wearing makeup. She was told to remove her false eyelashes and wig, neither of which she was wearing. DMV staff also called her “it.” Kristen eventually removed her makeup and DMV staff took her license photo with an altered appearance that does not reflect how she looks on a daily basis.

TLDEF (Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund) sent a letter to the West Virginia DMV requesting that Kitzmiller and Skinner be allowed to retake their driver license photo as soon as possible. West Virginia is one of 33 states that does not guarantee workplace protections for transgender people. Not having matching documentation puts these women at a serious disadvantage and makes them vulnerable to discrimination and possible violence every time they have to show their identification. GLAAD stands with TLDEF in their efforts to ensure that all West Virginian transgender people are treated fairly under the law. 

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