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"don't push the envelope"

Chase Culpepper is a South Carolina gender non-conforming teen who was asked to remove his makeup for his recent DMV photo. Stana of femulate fame featured this story on her website yesterday and I was duly intrigued.

He and his mother are now challenging this DMV directive with support from a transgender advocacy group. Their defence being that Chase is being who he is and should be entitled to free expression under the constitution.

What surprised but did not shock me were the negative ratings (in the form of a down arrow) given to comments in support of his stance that were posted on the Daily Mail story that appeared online. This is a UK periodical with a web presence although I suspect many of the ratings were international.

Regardless, it shows to me that there is no great public appetite for people who push the gender envelope. You can be who you are but just don’t do it too much and don’t break the rules.

So while women can wear makeup on their driver’s licence photo, men should not be allowed; some posters making the argument that he would not be recognisable as a male. Conversely, a woman who has had her hair cut short and is makeup free would contrast sharply with her photograph taken only a few months before complete with long hair and cosmetically altered appearance. That is entirely permissible it seems.

For the record, Chase's makeup was neither garish nor heavy enough to make him unrecognisable.

What is the difference? Men should not wear makeup or women’s clothing the public is saying.

This judgement is likely rooted in the notion that desiring to be male is positive but desiring to be seen as female is weak and disempowering.

In truth there are very few gender outlaws out there and it’s not like there will be an epidemic of makeup wearing men lining up to have their picture taken if we allow young Culpepper this indulgence.

We as a culture just do not feel comfortable with people who push the gender envelope to unacceptable limits.

But if the transgender are to be allowed to exist in our society without feeling pressure to transition we must allow them their expression. Not everyone wants to choose a side and the tiny fraction of the population that Chase Culpepper is a member of is not going to destroy western civilisation as we know it. If anything it will allow us to be more compassionate and tolerant towards diversity in all its forms.

I hope that Chase wins his challenge because we will all be the better for it as a society. It just takes little steps like this one for us to get there.

Chase Culpepper

Comments

  1. I certainly hope he wins his challenge. There is no place for double standards or discrimination anywhere, for any reason.

    Mandy

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope he wins his challenge but his courage has already made great strides forward. Sadely there was an piece and poll on MSN.com that showed only 16% felt he should be permitted to take another photo in makeup.

    We have a huge civil service that devotes itself in large part to regulating all aspects of our lives. It is choking and we need people like Chase to help restore our liberty. The lame excuse of DMV is vapid. One young man I know had a full beard and head of hair when he had his photo taken. He is now clean shaven on his face and head. Another had a mohawk with large ear piercings and piercings in his lips and eyebrows. Today he is the GQ poster boy image of corporate conformity. I suspect many women at some point in their lives were blonde. The action by the DMV is another attempt by the government to put people into boxes and destroy their freedom liberty.
    Pat

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