Transgender Woman Mocked At Utah DMV, Forced To Scrub Off Makeup

Posted By 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.

amber anderton, utah, salt lake, dmv, transgender

Local hero Amber Anderton

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

fairpark dmv, utah, transgender, discrimination

Utah Fairpark DMV

About The Author

Eric Ethington has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Eric’s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Public Eye magazine. He’s worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, activist and electoral campaign strategist. Follow him on Twitter @EricEthington

Comments

85 Responses to “Transgender Woman Mocked At Utah DMV, Forced To Scrub Off Makeup”

  1. Jodene Rudolf says:

    I broke down in sobs after reading this. I am absolutely shocked, sickened, disgusted, disheartened, saddened, yet angered all at once. How can any human being dehumanize another in such an obvious insensitive and hurtful way? The Department of Motor Vehicles should be required to discharge this individual immediately-no ‘three strikes your out’ rule of thumb. I want to see non-discriminatory language written into all of their hiring practices and I want to see anti-discrimination signage displayed inside the buildings. This is a state agency and should represent all the people of the state not just the people that this one employee is comfortable with. Employees would benefit from diversity education and manager should be held accountable. This is quite possibly one of the most barbaric acts that I have heard of in a very long time. Is this really how you want Utah to be portrayed as-the big ‘bully’? Where’s the humanity?

  2. My stomach hurts reading this.

    My roommate is a Transgender Woman and our state will not allow her to change her name, so she will have to get a new driver’s license with her male name on it when she renews her license this September. I hope the clerks at our local DMV are more humane than the ones in this story.

    My heart breaks for this woman. Besides the humiliation, I understand the pain of being told that she is a man and cannot be who she is.

    I don’t have words strong enough for my anger at what was done to her, which is why I sound calm in this comment. Inside I am seething and ready to break something on her behalf.

    I’m not in Utah but if there is anything I can do to help please let me know.

  3. You may want to make a correction in this. If I am not mistaken Amber Yust is from California not Maryland. there are also a few misspellings you may want to look at.

    Over all this article is a very good example of the prejudice and bigotry the Transgender population does face on a daily basis, something that is not talked about in polite society, but should be. discrimination is wrong and is caused by lack of information, bigotry on the other hand is a total unwillingness to be educated. I believe what was witnessed was a combination of both, along with a lack of professional ethics. Those involved in the display of prejudice and bigotry should be reprimanded, and/or summarily dismissed for their total lack of community ethics.

    @Amber Anderton: Thank you for your care and understanding, I remember when I renewed my Utah driver license after having my name changed. I made the change at the driver license office in West Vally/Taylorsville, and the small issues I had. For me there was no one to intervene on my behalf, but than again they never openly laughed and made fun of me while I was there, nor did they ask me to remove my make-up and pull my hair back for the picture (not that I would have done so had they said I needed to, perhaps it was that my license is and has been a CDL since the CDL came out in 1990).

    Again thank you Amber, thank you so very much.

  4. Maureen says:

    My wife is TG, presurg, and thanks to our inane “prove your citizenship” rules, will need to bring her birth certificate to the DMV this time when she renews her license. We’re terrified. I am appalled by the fact that no one seems to give enough of a shit for some kind of official legal action to be taken against this crew of bigots. I only hope someone will take a look at this and realize how much it reinforces the “black hole” award(?!) Utah has just won, and makes us even more the most backward, cold-hearted, aggressively bigoted state in the nation–sometimes I think this place is the butthole of the universe. Someone, please, DO something….

  5. Geoff says:

    If I or anyone I know ever sees anyone treat another person without at least the basic respect regarding gender, sexuality, religion, or other aspects of social equality, please let it be known that we will personally walk right up to you, get in your face…and correct you in such a way that you and your other little bratty and ignorant buddies will never ever forget.

    I am not sure if this is clear enough to those of you immature, uneducated, pious hillbillies that believe that hatred and fear is the way to behave. It is not. You are an adult that has to live and act in a manner that is in accordance with the pursuit of harmony in our community.

    People who believe they have a right to criticize myself or others are simply wrong, period…and I will tell you what, you might have nurtured your own to be afraid of these tactics and taught them to be victims of your own stupidity and bully-ishness, but you have not me met or my many many friends yet.

    Honestly, we are smarter, tougher, more responsible and savvy, more experienced in life, we contribute more to the positive aspects of society overall…and have wayyyyyyyyy more teeth than you so I would watch what you say hillbillie. You got an emotional bitch slap coming your way if you don’t take it down a notch.

    I won’t hurt you physically, I will just bury you intellectually and legally and quite honestly, you will be sorry and we will not care.

    Further, for all of you closets, I am done with your cowardess. We are not a hobby nor a club, we are honest people who, despite the fear and hatred of people, walk with our heads high knowing that we are approaching life face forward.

    So you married or afraid or cheating closets, go ahead, come out of the bushes and steam rooms and face your families and loved ones, grow a pair and come out. I am done with my community protecting you and your secrets…your oppression. WE ARE NOT AN OUTLET FOR YOU!

    Kudos to Amber. I am on your team. You are a super hero.

  6. Geoff says:

    To Maureen, I and my friends would love to come along with you to on your appointment. We have paint and boards and media to invite if needed. :)

  7. Michi Eyre says:

    Maureen> If she has “transitioned”, get a letter from a physician and immediately apply for a US Passport. Most DMVs will take a passport in lieu of a birth certificate for the “citizenship document” requirement. With the physician’s letter, a passport can be issued with the gender marker congruent with her identified gender, even without surgery. Check out info at the NCTE or the State Dept. for more info.

  8. adair says:

    This is disgusting behavior. Called the number, but just got a message saying when their hours were to call them back. I really hope that woman knows she’s absolutely worth “causing a scene” for, although I understand why she wouldn’t want to be at the center of another one. She’s just going about her life, and then they humiliate and abuse her like that!

  9. Logan says:

    All I have to say if Supervisor John is judging who is a women, I hope that he is not thinking that he is a man. What a wimpy assed SOB. Just a pure example of a no back bone leader here, he can’t even discipline his own work force to follow their own damn rules and training. Weak joke of a man.

  10. Shaundi says:

    Or, you can email your complaint to:

    dmv@utah.gov

  11. Chris says:

    what can we do to make sure these individuals get punished? Do we call and complain?

  12. Hutch says:

    Thanks for posting the email. I have contacted them and will pass this on.

  13. [...] Read the rest of the story at  PRIDE in Utah » Transgender Woman Mocked At Utah DMV, Forced To Scrub Off Makeup. [...]

  14. Phil Black says:

    Folks, I had to read this article three times. With each read, I felt a wave of different emotion. First came the shock, then empathy for this transgendered woman who endured this vile behavior , and then the anger. I don’t know if anger can even really sum it up. Anger, outrage, disgust well maybe it’s more fury! How DARE an employee of the State of Utah (or anyone for that matter) treat someone with such behavior as to objectify and dehumanize them.

    It’s sad that this woman has been so humiliated after this incident that she remains anonymous. I say, don’t give these DMV workers what they want, which is to humiliate you and shame you into not being proud of who you are. Your human rights have been violated by bigots. Stand-up, tell your story, better yet- SHOUT out your story and FIGHT for your dignity and humanity. You are not alone in this state. There are plenty of us who are here to help you and help you fight for the respect you deserve!

    I also want to call out Amber Anderton- you ARE a local hero! Thank you for standing up and defending this woman. We need more local heros like you who act on what they see when they see it and call it out for what it is. Thank you for defending this woman’s human rights!

  15. I live in Oregon. Years ago I was told by a judge that anyone can petition the court for a name change. In this particular case the person requesting the name change wanted to use my last name. Even though this person had molested my children, the judge said that wasn’t adequate reason to deny the change. So, If you want to change your name, come to Oregon. And for that matter of harrassment. I am pretty sure that people in our DMV would be disciplined. DMV is part of ODOT and we are pretty sensitive to our public. We have training on how to work with all cultures. I hope it is working better here than in Utah.

  16. I sent a strongly worded email to the DMV office and demanded to know what disciplinary action will be taken.

  17. The Transexual Menace is calling for a general protest at the Fairbank DMV by all LGBT members who are horrified and disgusted that this can still happen in a major US city.

    http://www.transexualmenace.org/2011/03/transgender-woman-mocked-utah-dmv-forced-scrub-makeup/

    Join us!

    Be a Menace!

  18. This guy needs to loose his job… and fired to thunderous applause…

  19. Kat says:

    Gee…and Utah actually recognizes transition (it has a TS birth certificate statute.)

  20. Phil Black says:

    A twitter friend of mine contacted the National Center for Trans Equality (202).903.0112 and provided a link to the CO chapter if legal assistance is needed. http://www.glbtcolorado.org/

  21. Jo H. says:

    This made me sick. One of my closest friends is TG, and is all the more awesome because of it! Kudos to the gal for sticking up for a stranger, and let the dumbasses at the DMV know that its NOT OK TO ACT LIKE THIS!

  22. Hey me being an Austalian i am utterly appalled at this story, we look up to your United States but this is a bad strike against freedom and all the stuff you all purport to be sancrosanct… i have never had any drama in changing my licence here and the staff were professional… shame on you and as a polygamous person i am even more disgusted at the blight it puts on us whom supposedly have Big Love… get your selves together and stop the hipocracy

  23. Sylvie Rose says:

    This makes me feel so…. terrible! how can people be this mean, this hurtful? sometimes humans need a little smack upside the head to get them to understand, so here *cyber slap* hope that helps. Prayers out to that woman, I hope everything turns out ok.

  24. Holly Wilson says:

    Is it like this everywhere or more so in Utah? My heart breaks for this lady and hope she comes forward with one hell of a lawsuit.

  25. Wes says:

    I hope the DMV employees get fired immediately! This is completely unjust and sickening.

  26. Hello all,

    First let start by informing you that TEA of Utah has been working with the leadership of the Utah DMV. We have a good relationship with the leadership of the DMV. Unfortunately we became aware of this situation after hours. We are in contact with them. We will have more information after Monday.

    If people are concerned about their gender marker on their Utah State drivers license or state identification please visit our website to view the gender marker change policy document or contact us at info@teaofutah.org.

    TEA of Utah as well are in contact with NCTE. We have worked with them on policy changes here in Utah.

    Please feel free to contact us at info@teaofutah.org if you have experience discrimination or know of someone who has experienced discrimination.

    Thank you,
    Teinamarrie Scuderi
    Associate Director
    TEA of Utah

  27. This is disgusting to even read…….and teh fact that people would just sit around and allow this is even more disgusting

  28. Lily says:

    This is sickening. I want to throw up.

  29. Carla says:

    You can also email the state DMV office (dmv@utah.gov), or send letters to:

    Utah State Tax Commission
    Motor Vehicle Division
    P.O. Box 30412
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

    My email is as follows, feel free to copy/paste:

    To whom it may concern,

    I recently heard of an incident in which a transgender woman was verbally abused and humiliated by state employees at the DMV located at 1095 Motor Ave. She was humiliated by DMV employees who forced her to remove her make-up for her driver’s license photo, because according to them, “she’s not a real woman.”

    Not only is it unprofessional and juvenile to make fun of any customer in a place of business, but this kind of discrimination and bigotry is at the core of transphobic violence and bigotry in our society. When we let people believe that it’s okay to treat other human beings this way because they are different, we are telling them that those people who are different are in some way less human, less deserving of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than so-called “normal” (heterosexual) people.

    Furthermore, even aside from the egregious lack of good manners and professionalism rampant in this situation, to force a transgender woman to remove her make-up (to make her look more “masculine”) for a driver’s license is simply impractical. Obviously this woman wears her make-up on a daily basis. If she is using her driver’s license as a form of identification, to force her to alter her appearance renders the license useless in making such an identification. It’s just plain stupid.

    This woman is owed an apology, the employees who abused her in this manner should be reprimanded., and much more needs to be done to train and inform state employees of the rights and facts about transgender men and women to prevent such horrendous abuse of Americans by their government. This behavior is unacceptable, and I urge you to take the proper measures to prevent such outrageous abuse by state employees in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Carla H.

  30. Rocco says:

    You guys are BIGOTS! THAT IS HORRIBLE.. AND I SAY JOHN NEEDS TO BE FIRED! INCLUDING HIS STAFF… think about this, you could have approached it in such a normal way! ITS ALWASY “EASIER” TO GO ABOUT MAKING FUN OF SOMEONE ELSE RATHER THEN GETTING RESPECT FROM MANY!

  31. Amber Yust says:

    From one Amber to another, thank you for being kind in the presence of unkindness.

  32. Drivers license and car registration should be abolished. You have a right to travel. Why should you have to give all this personal information to the government just to travel on what they call public roads? You shouldn’t be forced to do business with these jerks.

  33. Sabrina says:

    Absolutely disgusting. I have no words.

  34. Renee Thomas says:

    Amber,

    Thank you for stepping up to defend her. You (and so many like you) continue to reinforce my faith in humanity.

    On the other hand, to you who act against other human beings with such a singular malice . . . a plague on your houses.

  35. Amber Anderton says:

    Please set a few minutes aside to contact the DMV about this. When I lodged the complaint I was told that I was a young girl doing it for attention. I really want to see this man lose his job. Someone that gets a mid level supervision position within a government agency and they think they can get away with treating people like that, withholding info, and then mocking a citizen who lodges a complaint on their behalf.

    I really wish that I would have gotten her (victims) contact info.

  36. nadine deck says:

    Amber You are a flower living in a garden of weeds you will have many more encounters to deal with before you blossem. life is a learning process the more we learn the more power we have power is streingth

  37. Mike says:

    I want to say THANK YOU to Amber. I feel so sorry for the lady that was humiliated. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If she says she’s a woman then she is. No gender marker on a license dictates that. And aren’t you supposed to look like YOU in your license? If they made her wash her makeup ad change her hair, how will anyone even know that it is HER’S? I think there needs to be some serious action taken, and I’m personally gonna avoid that specific DMV from now on.

  38. JJ says:

    You know what I thought about? I once saw a terribly distressing You Tube video of a poor trans woman being humiliated, by having her hair shaved as she was mocked by police. In Iraq. Later, that woman was taken away and, it is believed, executed. I’ll never forget that video. Why am I telling you this? Because, I couldn’t shake the thought that the people who did this to this woman, in Utah, with their vindictive little bureaucratic power trip, had more in common with those policemen than they do with me.

    It’s sickening story, my heart goes out to the poor woman involved, and I hope those who did this are all fired.

  39. John says:

    Sorry to hear about this inccident that occured. It is not right what they have done, but this subject is very hard for me. As a service member we are going threw a phase which will be hard for awhile due to differences. I know people either gay, lesbian, etc. also, know people as hispanic, africa-american, black-american, whites, germans, koreans, chinesse, well to put it basically being versetile. If people want to be different let them as long as they can perform their job, career, and personal life as adults and professional. The World we live in would surpass anything that can be conqured. So, I leave this to an end, if I’m out here fighting to be free when I get home, You people that make USA look bad cause someone wants to express themselves GET YOUR ASS out here and stand up for your right instead on stepping on someone’s PRIDE. As for the people who want to be different, Hey if you could accomplish anything better than anyone else go for it cause UNITED WE STAND and USA should never be divided because USA was made by different PEOPLE not just one-sided view. So grow up and look at the World it already mess up why FUCK IT even more.

    Thanks and God Bless are MEN AND WOMEN of the ARMED FORCES

  40. JJ says:

    I think their should be a big protest. Everyone should go to that DMV with children’s facepaint (Tigers, Pandas, Spiderman) etc and clown wigs and try to renew their license. That would be a legitimate reason to wash of make-up. Do they make straight goth/ emo guys wash off their eyeliner?

  41. Sadie A says:

    I live in Utah as well and am livid after reading this. This is absolutely disgusting behavior. I hope that all involved are fired and I’d like to help see that they are.

  42. Paris Lees says:

    The thing that really upsets me the most is that this trans woman sat and took this abuse. How low do you think she must have felt to not even want to complain? How marginalised and unimportant, how powerless? Well done to the woman who stuck up for her. I am not surprised that it took a cis woman to stand up to this kind of treatment, as trans people we are taught to accept the unacceptable. I see this most with my friend who is balck and also trans – she let’s people get away with discrimination that she would NEVER put up with if it were due to her race. It makes me so angry and frustrated. I wish I lived cloe by because I would be going down to that office personally this has made me so mad!!! I am in Britain, but I’m tempted to book a flight! We have to send out the message that this is NOT OK and never will be.

  43. Jiff says:

    For the purpose of identification if you are biologically a man you should appear as naturally as you can for a DMV photo, even if you are most comfortable as a woman. ID’s aren’t for you and your friends to admire, it is to legally identify you to law enforcement personel. I don’t believe that you should be forced to cut your hair or dress like a man necessarily if you are a transgender woman, but make up and other appearance altering cosmetics isn’t necessary. So far as a DMV photo is concerned your biological gender is what should be represented, not what you are accepting yourself as.

    However, no one should ever be mistreated by a GOVERNMENT office, everyone in that office should have been remanded or terminated upon proving guilt, and the security officer under the circumstances was likely not acting out of duty but out of unkindness.

  44. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utah-Driver-License-Division/114406373190

    Looks like the Utah DMV has a Facebook page. Please express your displeasure at the discrimination of a transgendered woman by staff at their Fairpark office in Salt Lake City. Be sure to tell them that the Menace sent you!

    http://www.transexualmenace.org/2011/03/transgender-woman-mocked-utah-dmv-forced-scrub-makeup/

  45. Tara Larsen says:

    It is sad that people cannot accept others for who they are. I can’t imagine the humiliation that this women had to go through. I really hope that something takes place in this state to change the way we are towards each other and I really hope that a proper punishment is placed on those who treated her this way. Amber I wish I would have been there because I would have been right by your side fighting for her rights. You are a great person and the karma will reward you for being such an amazing person.

  46. Dale says:

    How inappropriate to treat a fellow person this way! I do not advocate this person’s lifestyle but what does that have to do with a driver’s license photo? My beliefs require me to treat all people with dignity and respect. I wish I could say the same for the DMV!

  47. Jami says:

    @ Michi Eyre >If she has “transitioned”, get a letter from a physician and immediately apply for a US Passport. Most DMVs will take a passport in lieu of a birth certificate for the “citizenship document” requirement.

    Every state is different. I had my letter, had my name changed, had my new passport with my new gender identifier, was living full time as a woman and yet the great state of Texas would not issue me a driver’s license with a new gender without a court order saying it was OK to change my gender. I spent the $300 to get the order because this was not one office being arbitrary in their decision-making, it’s official TxDOT policy. In fact, the folks in the driver’s license office were models of discretion, support and sympathy when we discussed it all. Unlike the assholes in this story.

    BTW, if someone moves into Texas or is otherwise applying for a driver’s license here for the first time, a passport IS a good document to use in verifying identity (and gender). But if you already have a Texas DL, it’s NOT a good document to use to CHANGE your identity. That’s only possible with a court order for both name and gender.

  48. Such is human tragedy, that to understand another we ourselves must first shed our own guilt and fear. Those at the DMV office did a despicable act of cruelty just as some kids, out of their own fears and inferiority, pray on week and helpless. I am sure that after all was over and done, on the way back home, those who dealt such a blow to this transwomans psyche did have a moment of reflection realizing the evil in their ways.
    I sent my love to the wronged woman and Amber, for being such a wonderful human being, who gives us hope of tolerance and future full of truth and love for one another. Love, Alexia.

  49. Tobin says:

    It is not the DMV it is the Driver License Division.

  50. In a case like this, nothing less than the termination of those three employees will do; the supervisor and his two cronies, all of them. They violated their employment contract to provide service to all residents. They violated that woman’s civil rights under the ‘fair and equal’ clause. They committed a form of assault under color of authority by publicly humiliating her and forcing her to remove her makeup. In short, they were all three very bad boys and as such, should be treated harshly. Not a demotion, not a suspension, not a written warning. Termination. I say we should stand our ground on this and demand it, in person if necessary. An arbitrator will try to reinstate them. Show up to the hearing (time and date should be posted) and protest that as well.

    The only drawback here is that the legal eagles will make a tidy sum off this; both sides. (sigh) Such is life in a cash and carry world. But that woman has such a wonderfully airtight case for a discrimination lawsuit. I suggest we support her as best as we can and raise one hell of a stink.

  51. Kristi says:

    Fire the entire staff end of discussion. The woman at issue should really consider lawsuit for discrimination. The workers won’t be laughing and snickering when their butts are without a job.

  52. Lisa Thomas says:

    I have a Transgender son. He is one of the most wonderful loving people in the world. He has taken more abuse from society than any other mis-understood group I have seen. I am normally very docile and non-violent in situations, but there have been times that I have come close to blows with others watching how they have treated him. He also got similar treatment at the DMV, but it was a different situation caused by the same insensitivity by a worker at the DMV.
    I would have not only been totally humiliated by having my make-up taken off like that in public, but on top of that having it pointed out so loudly and being laughed at for being a Trans-person. I would love to talk to these comedians. And maybe they can be the ones ashamed of themselves for being viscous and revolting.

    -Lisa

  53. Stacey says:

    I emailed a complaint and this is the reply that I received;

    The Fairpark office that the article is referring to is a Driver’s License office, not a DMV office. You need to contact the Driver License Division. Their phone number is 1-800-222-0038 or 801-965-4437. Or you can check their website http://www.publicsafety.utah.gov/dld to see if they have an email contact.

    In the state of Utah the Driver’s License Division and DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) are separate agencies.

    If you have any further questions please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department for further assistance Monday – Thursday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 801-297-7780 or 1-800-368-8824.
    Thank you,

    Monica
    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Utah State Tax Commission

  54. Amber Anderton says:

    I was contacted by the person in question. This is all the thanks I need.

    “hey I just want to thank you for what you did at the DMV for me for them discriminating against me and would like to know the steps you took to file the complaint and would like to know if you can help me get it across that I am still human and would like my voice to be heard if you can help I would really appreciate it thank you so much for everything”

    I am encouraging her to go public. She was with a friend too. The three of us cannot be wrong.

  55. Joni Weiss says:

    Thank you Eric for posting this excellent article about the incident. My heart goes out to the woman who had to endure what many of us in the trans community fear. This treatment is unacceptable. Amber is a local hero for not only her actions at the DMV as an eye witness but also for documenting what happened.

    I also want to thank Christopher and Teinamarrie for addressing this with the DMV leadership. What was the outcome of your discussion with them (or have you been able to meet with them yet)? Please let us know. Thanks!

    Maureen and anyone else who knows of someone who has to go through this at the DMV: I will be glad to go with you. I am trans and went through this before the DMV rules went into effect. I would love to be there just in case you are being mistreated. I think perhaps it is time to start showing up in numbers! Perhaps not to make s scene UNLESS they start causing trouble.

    The way to put a stop to this is to educate and raise awareness. This is not the role of one person or one organization. It is a role which belongs to each one of us. We CAN make a difference… by being out where and when it matters… by taking a stand for the rights and dignity of one another… and by not being silent when those around us, no matter who they are, are being mistreated.

    Yes: This story is disgusting, the DMV’s actions inexcusable… and the fact that this happens at all let alone to more than one person is deplorable. But the heroism and sense of community extended by Amber and everyone who has called or written the DMV does give me hope that this behavior will no longer be tolerated by US. We will not wait idly by while our sisters and brothers are being abused.

    I am not in favor of marching on the DMV but I AM in favor of going to the DMV to support each other when we have to get our license renewed or have to change our name & gender marker. Hey: something about trans folks in packs should at least make them nervous eh?

  56. Luka says:

    May I first start out by saying, how deeply moved I am by how much ‘fire’ Amber was able to create from this incident. I was there that day, the day that my sister was humiliated. I watched through red furry, in amazement as Amber fired down the huge man,who was mocking my sister at any cheap opportunity. I was so thankful that Regina and myself were not the only ones who were acknowledging this prejudice. John, was so ready to define what my sister is, with cheap words and judging looks. Debbie, his superior fed us a b.s. line that he was not laughing at her, but rather at an itch he had on his buttocks, to which a certain unfit security guard tried to scratch. Bottom line is the public isn’t as stupid and easily swayed as this crew thought. Amber, you are a hero to us. My sister is an amazing, beautiful and STRONG woman. I am so proud of her, and I am so proud to know that she isn’t alone in this struggle. I e-mailed a few local politicians, and of course they’re hasn’t been a response. But Amber, within a few days has not only made my sister’s injustice known to a wider public, but she does so with such vigor and dedication. I truly am humbled by the passion to which she accompanies her convictions and I am left standing in awe to the power of a woman. Please, pass it on, and stand up for the civil and social injustices that still plague our society, you never know what type of firecracker may be watching on the sidelines.

  57. [...] Transgender Woman Mocked At Utah DMV, Forced To Scrub Off Makeup [...]

  58. piny says:

    Hey, Jiff? You’re wrong!

    Your photo is meant to match your appearance. That’s so that law-enforcement officers can use it to identify you when they see you. Her ID is now less useful because the picture looks less like her. Even from a context-free logistical standpoint, this is really stupid.

    But in context…this isn’t just stupid. I don’t think that this was only meant to humiliate her. I think it was meant to put her in danger. Now, her Driver’s License is more likely to out her as MAAB. That means she’s more likely to be hurt and humiliated.

  59. michelle n says:

    NO one would get away with that if it were me! That kind of behavior goes against our fundamental rights as citizens! Our freedoms!! If a supervisor tried that with me, I most certainly would demand to see the person at the top immediately! I would NOT wash off my makeup or anything else they ordered me to do! I would stand up for myself, and then, I would contact all my friends who have the same issues and start protesting right there at the DMV!! We need more people to protest in this town! How DARE ANYONE judge another!! I’m extremely radical when it comes to these kinds of issues. (I was probably burned at the stake in a past life, too.)

  60. Annie says:

    6 years ago, I went to a BMV in Indiana to change the name and gender on my driver’s license. I was in compliance with state law and experienced little difficulty in doing so, but the woman handling my paperwork was married to a former co-employee. Before I left the BMV, everyone on the floor of that factory knew what I had changed my name to, and I’m sure there were snickers all around. Of course, I didn’t want to end up on the local 6 o’clock news, so I left with my ID and marked it down as the price we pay. Most of us do that when encountering such discrimination and ridicule. It was cheap considering I left that job, and a 17 year career for much the same reason. My wife, employed at a neighboring factory, endured abuse for years because of this one incident. Thank you Amber, for doing what we won’t. I’m sorry, but the price is high enough as it is.

  61. BJ says:

    I am embarrassed for all of you. You are ranting and raving about an incident that you know nothing about. You have no idea what the law requires. Maybe, you should be working to change the regulations if you don’t like them. Instead, you take one person’s word as gospel. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that she is telling what she interpreted the situation to be. However, if you weren’t there you shouldn’t judge. There are required documents that have to be provided in order to change gender on an ID. Did the person in question have them? Also, if I were to pretend to be a woman and do my face up with makeup and go to get an ID should I be allowed to do so? Because, after all, I claim to be a woman even though every official document I own states otherwise. How would the DLD know whether I was really transgender or if I’m just messing with them. After all an ID pretty cheap and I could get alot of laughs from my friends when I show them. My point is, without the proper documents you can’t just go changing your gender anymore than you can just randomly change your name. It is allowed in both cases with the proper legal documnets. Grow up people….you’re making us all look like idiots.

  62. Meggan Hafen says:

    Way to go Amber! Thank you for standing up for the equality of human being’s. One of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time is – There is but one race, and that is the human race.

    And to this woman, you are beautiful! I can empathize with the fear and pressure you felt, making you not want to file a complaint. I am so sorry this happened to you, and wish I could give you a hug! Forget those ignorant, closed-minded people. There are complete strangers out there who are already standing by your side.

  63. Meggan Hafen says:

    I call upon all women to protest the Fair Park Office. Go in to get a new license, which requires a new picture, and wear heavy makeup when you do. If there are other women who would like to join me, please let me know! I will check back to see if anyone responds, and provide my contact info then. The more we can have show up at once the more power we can show them we have.

  64. [...] Transgender Woman Mocked At Utah DMV, Forced To Scrub Off Makeup [...]

  65. I’m the transgender female that was discriminated against at the local DMV and all your guy’s support is bringing tears to my eyes I will be on the channel 4 news tonight if you guys want to know how I felt that day and I really dont know how to thank you all especially Amber Anderton who has made it possible for the world to know how we trans women are treated and how hard it is to go places without the immature ignorant arrogant close minded bigots that think that we dont got no emotions well Im doing what I can to go thur the proper steps and hoops to get things moving and done with the people involved.

  66. Amy says:

    I think Utah officials were correct in doing this, although they did in a very unprofessional manner. In this post-9/11 state of war, new laws such as REAL ID Act require accurate recording of individual identity documents. It is also a concern to anyone who is worried about identity theft.

    For good or bad, most Americans consider transgender as somewhat of deception, if not merely a harmless self-delusion. It would be a matter of time before it will be outlawed: just wait until a few Islamic jihadists dressed like women and hiding explosives inside their dresses and hijabs. In most European nations transgenders must receive government permission before commencing transvestism. They have a national database of all transgenders approved for medical reasons.

    Until Utah comes up with a way to catalog all transgenders and provide for special drivers licenses that are clearly distinct from others (and clearly labeled something like “NOT VALID FOR IDENTIFICATION” or “NOT FOR FEDERAL USE”) they need to set aside their sexuality for the sake of National Security.

  67. [...] this under “Why allowing transgender people to get the right birth certificate is important”: Local resident Amber Anderton watched a horrifying scene play out in front of her this past [...]

  68. Ian says:

    News of this bigotry has made it all the way to Mexico. I expect better of a State that is supposed to be about loving one another and treating everyone as children of God. Shame.

  69. Regina, I saw that they are claiming you didn’t address your gender marker to reflect female and therefore they made you wash your makeup off. Is this true? Is this something you should have done prior to renewing your license?

  70. Lainie says:

    The root of the matter is that the LDS church who controls Utah and to a great extent Las Vegas, considers all of us ABOMINATIONS. Their membership (maybe not all) feel justified in any hatred toward any of us.

    LDS members not only ordered me fired for being TG from a job I held for 20yrs with “perfect” employee evaluations. Then they had infiltrated the federal EEOC so that the third level up stopped my action against the City, who had employed the person and the city attorney even tried to come up with fabrications to justify my firing.

    If you are TS going into Utah is dangerous.

  71. tyler says:

    How do these people still have jobs.

  72. beneficii says:

    Amy @64

    I think you might want to do some research. You might want to start here:

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/143160.pdf

  73. [...] whole department of Salt Lake City’s DMV gathered to mock and abuse a transwoman trying to renew her license - one woman stood up for [...]

  74. EllieJay says:

    I live in the UK but picked this up on a TS website. It is sad to think that any individual of any kind can be treated this way in what is supposed to be a democratic society. I echo the sentiments I have read here, much respect to Amber for what she dd, but how sad that others just sat and did nothing. People have no right to treat other people this way. I have recently come out have no idea how the future will turn out, but I am proud of who I am. I hope the woman involved finds the courage to complain and realises that she is worth it. Don’t let the bullies win.

  75. Luka says:

    Let’s make one thing clear, my sister didn’t go into Driver License Division trying to get an ID with an updated gender, she simply was trying to get an ID. The problem came when John decided to laugh and mock my sister along with voicing his personal opinion in a venue that offers public services, period.

  76. Apenah says:

    OMG….I am sooooo happy that somebody spoke up. There is soooo much racism at that particular Driver License office (Fairpark) that begins with the Supervisor Debbie Clark and the Assistant Supervisor John Holt! Racist! Racist! Racist!…..There have been numerous complaints by customers and employees who have transferred out of that particular office and employees who have been fired because of Debbie and John and these complaints were reviewed and heard by the “Top Guns” of the Driver License Division, like the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner Nannette and still, Debbie and John remain in their positions and the employees who have complained were fired and the customers complaints were placed in the recycle bin. If KSL news or any newspaper put the word out for ex-employees who had something to say about Debbie and John, I guarantee you they will get a truckload……The Fairpark office represents the Department of Public Safety because the Commissioner and Nannette have turned a blind eye to all the legit complaints they have received about Debbie and John.

  77. Mary Lou says:

    Apenah,
    It sounds like you are a disgruntled employee that got called out for not doing their job. If you would spend more time being a productive employee and less time blaming other people for your in ability to be a functioning member of society. The many times I have been into the DLD I have always been met with nothing more than professional people helping me. It sounds like to me you are the kind of person that waits for a hand out and does nothing to earn it. The employees of the DLD are following the letter of law. If you have a problem with the law maybe you should familiarize yourself with how things are done. Your drivers license is a state document and not a platform for a glamor photo. So if you go to jail and they make you wash your face and clear up all the make up for your mug shot, you will say they are racist too. The best thing you could for our society is get educated or just go away. As a community we do not people like you calling foul every time someone is doing their job.

  78. Janis says:

    This is the direct number to the Motor Ave. Location 801-535-2615. I called voiced my opinion and they said are you finished because I have no comment. I think we should keep them busy answering the phone!

  79. Susan says:

    What happened at the DMV was an exercise in pure ignorance… hatred and bigotry thrown in for good measure, both often signs of self doubt.
    I love that Mary Lou chimes in to defend the offenders. Hmmm… sounds to me like she may be equally ignorant, whether a DMV employee or not. Wake up, Mary Lou! Humiliation is NOT a part of anyone’s job description. If make-up needs to be removed from one human’s face, it needs to be removed from EVERY human’s face. When’s the last time you had to take your’s off for your driver’s lisence photo?

  80. Alixandra says:

    Jiff, #43:

    As others have already covered, the purpose of an ID is to identify you. Not only was your argument condescending (e.g. “Your photo isn’t for you and your friends to admire.”) – thereby dropping some of its validity – but it was also highly illogical. The way this woman presented is likely the way she presents the vast majority of the time, thereby allowing the best chance of identification.

    BJ, #60:

    There were witnesses there for the situation. Additionally, is “don’t judge” something you insist upon for every situation in which people are not present? Your statement simply does not make sense, and hints at prejudice for the event in particular.

    Furthermore, you use mimicry of a minority as a means to justify mistreatment of that minority. Since when do the misdemeanors of a few ill-willing justify the oppression of the innocent? How many people do you genuinely think are going to want to have their IDs rendered a useless parlor trick? When it comes to documentation, the vast majority of people are far more sensible than that. I believe the only growing to be done here belongs to you; if you would like to contribute to the topic, please educate yourself about it a bit more. Your opinion crosses as truly naive, and your argument is nothing more than a strawman fallacy.

    Amy, #64:

    “For good or bad, most Americans consider transgender as somewhat of deception, if not merely a harmless self-delusion.” – this trend is quickly abating, and is mostly a remnant of older generations and disgruntled and uneducated youth; time in this is limited. Your post essentially suggests the same as BJ’s: oppressing a minority for what might color a single grain of sand on an entire beach, except your example is far more outrageous and is ever-more the strawman fallacy.

    Furthermore, gender identity and sexuality are mutually exclusive. It is an incredibly basic concept to understand. I think it is you who needs to set aside your paranoia for the sake of human rights.

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