Cancer Patient Suing DMV for Humiliating Treatment: ‘Take That Thing Off’

A woman in the midst of battling breast cancer is also now battling with the New Jersey DMV. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A breast cancer patient was stripped of her dignity when the DMV demanded she take off her headscarf for her new driver’s license photo. She is now fighting back.

Jennifer Giordano is a mother of three and has stage II breast cancer. She has undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy and has lost her hair in the battle. She was wearing a scarf known as a “chemo cap” when she went to the Eatontown Motor Vehicle Commission to update her address.

“‘You have to take that thing off,’ is what she said to me,” Giordano told the news outlet App. “So I started crying.”

The employee demanded Giordano take off the scarf and take a photo for her new license.

“I certainly didn’t want to stand at the DMV full of strangers and take it off when I wasn’t even walking around my own home like that,” Giordano said to App.

After four months of wearing a headscarf, Giordano says that she only just recently began to feel comfortable enough to take off the scarf at home in front of her husband and children. “I don’t like to look at myself like this, I don’t want my husband to see it either,” she said.

Eventually, the manager stepped in, allowing Giordano to keep her old photo on her new license, which is all she had wanted in the first place.

State law dictates that ill individuals whose appearance might be changed due to medical conditions are allowed to use old photos. After her experience, Giordano is now suing the DMV, saying she wants to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen to someone else.

“This is not OK to treat people this way, especially in this day and age where hate seems to be so prevalent and judgment seems to be so prevalent,” Giordano said.

Giordano’s case comes after a transgender teen sued the South Carolina DMV in 2015 and won. Chase Culpepper, then 17, was told by DMV officials that she was not allowed to wear makeup in her license photo. The transgender teen sued the federal government for sex discrimination and for violating her free speech rights.

Last year, a California man was allowed to wear a baseball cap in his photo, claiming religious freedom, and an Oregon man wore an orange fox hat, claiming the same.

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