Continuing Story – State Denies Trans-Discrimination, But Victim Speaks Out

Posted By on March 29, 2011

UPDATE: Utah DMV Sits down with victim of trans-discrimination, pledges improvement. See HERE

Salt Lake City, Utah – Over the weekend, PRIDEinUtah brought you the story of a Transgender woman who was mocked and ridiculed at a local DMV. Now the Drivers License Division is claiming that no such discrimination or humiliation happened, but the victim is speaking out and saying otherwise.

Over the weekend, we posted the horrifying story of a transgender woman who was mocked, laughed at, and forced to scrub off her makeup before she was allowed to get her photo taken to renew her drivers license. But in an article by the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday, the Utah Drivers License Division is claiming that not only did their employees not laugh or ridicule this Transgender woman, but that they have video to prove it.Local Transgender Advocacy Group, “TEA of Utah” was allowed to view security footage and they reported to the Trib that they did not witness any behavior out of the ordinary.

But now the victim is stepping up, and has identified herself as Regina Audette. Here’s what she had to say last night:

I was the transgender female who was asked to scrub my make up off so they could took my photo. Well it was Thursday afternoon and my brother and I went to get my ID at the DMV at the Fairgrounds and the assistant supervisor and the security officer was laughing at me and so it was my turn to get my picture taken and so I gave them the… proper paperwork and they looked at it told me they need to talk to the supervisor who pulled me in her office and told me to remove my make up because I was altering my identification and so I took the make up off and they took the picture and while I was waiting the assistant supervisor was yelling that wasnt a female that is a man and making the situation that much worse and then my brother and I went to talk to the supervisor and she said that they wernt making fun of us he had to itch his ass and didnt want to do it in front of me and that was their excuse on why they were laughing.

I don’t know about you, but I will take the word of the victim and an eye-witness over the agency in question any day. The security footage shown could have been from any day, and not only that but TEA of Utah has confirmed to us that the security footage didn’t actually have audio.

The Drivers License Division has received hundreds of complaints so far. Don’t let them stop now! We also have learned that the Supervisor who refused to identify himself to Amber is John Fairbanks. His contact info is below.

John Fairbanks
Office Phone: 801-965-4802

Or his bosses:

Utah Drivers License Division
1-800-222-0038 or 801-965-4437


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


13 Responses to “Continuing Story – State Denies Trans-Discrimination, But Victim Speaks Out”

  1. [...] Continuing Story – State Denies Trans-Discrimination, But Victim Speaks Out [...]

  2. Billie Sue says:

    Yes, to take the word of the victim AND the eye witness is the thing to do. Governmental officials have been known to cover up truth.

    For a Christian view: In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established. Well, there are two witnesses. What more does anyone need?

  3. Melissa Hicks says:

    I do not believe it is correct “to take the word of the victim and eye witness(es)” at face value.

    I do think this is a horrible thing. I do think that something inappropriate occurred. In this case we have a victim and a witness. I do believe the story BUT it is never correct to make judgements without all the available and applicable information. That’s why our country has trials. It’s unfair and immoral to assume guilt without giving a person the right to defend themselves.

    I would think that members of any marginalized group would understand and demand that all parties are innocent until proven guilty.

    That said, I’d like to see that tape and make up my own mind!

  4. RachaelAnn says:

    People like John Fairbanks make me sick. Just because of his own insecurities and intolerance they humiliate us transgenders. I am a 29 year old transwoman, and I wouldn’t have stood for that. If I was Amber I would be calling my congressman.

  5. Will says:

    In a perfect world, every claim by every participant in a situation like this would be spoken to before an organization declared that discrimination had or had not occurred. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

    As a result, I’m of the opinion that since we know that under the status quo certain groups are mistreated, misunderstood, and misrepresented more often than others; we have an obligation to open our ears and hear when cries of injustice ring out.

    I am uncertain why TEA chose to believe the DMV before even speaking to the eyewitness complainant or to the victim herself and I believe that was a mistake. I hope we can all use this moment to recognize that there are powerful forces all too willing to hide how they perpetuate inequality and injustice. Those of us who have a voice need to recognize the damage that can be done when only one or two of us repeat the mantras of our oppressors.

  6. Wise to Drivers License says:

    These people at this location are always like this. Please file your complaints. Lets not have this happen to anyone else.

  7. [...] Continuing Story – State Denies Trans-Discrimination, But Victim Speaks Out [...]

  8. Abinadihah says:

    The video should be sufficient, if it is sufficiently clear, to determine by facial expression, pointing fingers, clustering of employees, and make-up being removed, who was telling how much of the truth. I suppose both sides were telling partial truths, filtered through each side’s own preconceptions and prejudices. It should not be surprising, if we were to find out that Regina _expected_ discrimination; that could have been part of the problem. On the other hand, the department burocrats in hindsight might feel they were being very officious, and I do not doubt that they were, but they might also have focused more attention, and a certain kind of attention, on Regina, than they would have on a non-trans-gendered person. There are factors we outside the event aren’t aware of. Where I live there is one motor vehicle driving test employee who seems to be harder with men than he is with women. When you get to know him, you find out it is because he is gay, and admits that often a sign of leniency on his part, towards a male testee, gets him unduely criticized. So he is more strict with men, out of the need to defend himself from accusations of partiality. I doubt that specific problem was going on in Utah, but the point is that _something_ could be an important factor, that we don’t know about.

  9. [...] Continuing Story – State Denies Trans-Discrimination, But Victim Speaks Out [...]

  10. We are fed up and not gonna take it any more. A lot of good TEA is! No wonder they haven’t responded to any emails from the rest of the trans-community.

    It is protest time!

  11. Jennifer Baker says:

    to clear the DMV employees of wrong doing based on a video without sound…really…when you have a witness and her brother giving testimony. Why would anyone not believe the person who didn’t want media attention in the first place. I’m disgusted. She came forward to expose the discrimination for what it was and now your gonna tell her that the people who did it are not guilty cause there isn’t sufficient video proof to back up her story. OMG!!! every cuss word in the book comes to mind. Thanks for being supportive. Thanks for doubting. I’m sure she feels just great about herself now. Regina…I’m sorry this happened to you.

  12. I can tell you from my own experience with the DMV in Texas it sucks getting my licence renewed. The last time I went the same lady who uttered transphobic comments under her breath the time before I renewed was waiting for me again.
    When I told her I would rather be served by another person she mad a huge show out of it talking very loud.
    The DMV sucks in Texas as well.

  13. Amber says:

    This same “John” , and another supervisor named “Joyce” at the Fairpark DLD, harassed me when I went in to renew my license recently. They also refused to give me their last names. I’ve read another blog where they bullied a Native American man. I think it’s time a class action law-suit was started against these two employees.

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