Posted By Eric Ethington on March 26, 2011
UPDATE: State denies the discrimination happened, but the victim speaks out and says otherwise. See here.
Salt Lake City, Utah – Not a highlight of our state. On Thursday this week, a transgender woman entered a local DMV to renew her license only to find half the staff mocking and ridiculing her, including security forcing her to scrub off her makeup and pull her hair back before she could take her photo.
Local resident Amber Anderton watched a horrifying scene play out in front of her this past Thursday at the DMV located at 1095 Motor Ave. (approx. 200 N 1000 W) in Salt Lake City, as a transgender woman sat down at the photo station to renew her license. “When the DMV worker looked at her,” says Amber, “he immediately left and got another employee, whispered in their ear and they both began laughing as they looked back at the woman. They both then went and got security who escorted the woman back to a supervisor’s office. When they came back out the woman was taken to the restroom where she had to scrub off her makeup and pull her hair back before they would let her take her license photo.”
Amber goes on to describe how the original two employees were seen walking from office to office, and several other employees came out to laugh and toss anti-transgender slurs around.
Mortified at what she was witnessing, 29 year old Amber approached the woman (who is remaining anonymous) and apologized for the treatment she was receiving. She asked if the woman planned on filing a complaint, but was told that although the abused woman as livid, “I really don’t want to cause a scene.” Amber than asked if she would allow Amber herself to make a complaint which the woman agreed to.
Marching up to the supervisor (who refused to identify more than his first name, John), Amber said, “How dare you treat people this way! Would you make any other woman take off her makeup to get her licensed removed?” The supervisor coldly responded that “That is not a real woman, it’s a man.”
These are the common and everyday persecutions and discriminations that our transgender brothers and sisters face on a daily basis. Remember it wasn’t too long ago that Amber Yust in California was sent a threatening letter by a DMV employee using her personal information.
Local Transgender Advocacy group “Tea Of Utah” tells us that as a whole, the Salt Lake DMV leadership has been very open to trainings on gender identity issues. But apparently the Fairpark location hasn’t gotten the message.
According to the Utah DMV website, the phone number for that location is as listed below. Do not let this story pass! And I want to give an enormous thank you to Amber Anderton, a citizen who stood up for what is right, and faced down the tyranny and bigotry of these DMV workers and made herself a hero.
Utah Drivers License Division
1-800-222-0038 or 801-965-4437