Chase Culpepper, who was born male, regularly wears makeup and either androgynous or women's clothing. The teen does not identify with gender-specific pronouns. Culpepper told reporters Tuesday that being ordered by officials to remove what they called a disguise was humiliating.
The lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday says the DMV violated the teen's rights.
The agency wouldn't let Culpepper wear makeup for the photo because of a policy that bans license pictures when someone is purposefully altering his or her appearance.
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund says that rule is unconstitutional because it is vague and arbitrary. The DMV had no immediate response.