MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two transgender women who were allegedly humiliated and refused to be photographed while trying to update their driver’s licenses are requesting that the local DMVs allow the women to be photographed as they appear every day, without harassment.
During separate incidents, Kristen Skinner, 45, of Ranson, and Trudy Kitzmiller, 52, from Mount Storm, both claim they were told by DMV workers that they could not be photographed for their licenses unless they removed all makeup, eyelashes, jewelry and wigs, although Skinner said she doesn’t wear a wig.
The incidents occurred earlier this year in January and May at both the Charles Town and Martinsburg DMV offices.
In addition to allegedly being told they could not be photographed as they appear, both Skinner and Kitzmiller also claimed they were called “it” and treated with hostility.
“I left there very depressed. As a transgender woman, I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to be who I am,” said Kitzmiller.
The acting commissioner of the West Virginia DMV, Steven Dale, responded in a phone interview citing West Virginia code CSR 91-4-9.5, “any change of gender requires a court order specifically indicating that the gender change is complete.”
He also said that the DMV has not had the opportunity to investigate the alleged incidents.
However, according to Michael Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), neither Skinner nor Kitzmiller were requesting to update their change in gender.
The women were requesting to update their photographs and name changes, and according to Silverman, had the appropriate documents to do so.
“We believe it is a violation of their constitutional rights under the First Amendment,” said Silverman, “They cannot be told how to look a certain way…