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Trudy Kitzmiller
Ridgeley, WV

In 2014 Trudy Kitzmiller attempted to update her driver’s license at the DMV, following her transition from male to female; Trudy is transgender, which means she was raised male but always knew that didn’t quite fit, and so she transitioned to live every day as the woman she has long known herself to be. She wanted to update her driver’s license to reflect her new legal name and appearance. Trudy was met with hostility and harassment by DMV officials, who insisted that she remove her makeup, jewelry and other items in order to try to look male in her license photo. The DMV’s existing license photo policy prohibited license applicants from “misrepresenting gender.” TLDEF contacted the DMV, attempting to resolve the issue without litigation, but when that failed, the legal organization announced its intent to file suit against the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. Because of the pressure, the department announced a new policy in July of 2015 allowing transgender people to be photographed as they regularly present for their driver’s licenses.

“I am thrilled that we won,” Trudy said. “Getting my license updated has been a long struggle. I am relieved that the DMV will finally allow me to have a license that reflects the real me and will treat transgender people fairly. This is who I am – a transgender woman – and I have overcome many obstacles to be my true self. What happened to me at the DMV was wrong. I am so glad this policy has changed so that no one else will have to experience the humiliation I faced at the DMV.”

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