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Transgender woman meets with driver license director

Published August 1, 2011 11:51 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Driver License Division met Wednesday with a transgender woman who allegedly faced discrimination when she visited the agency's Fairpark Office in Salt Lake City.

"We did express our apology if she felt like she had been mistreated in our office," said Nannette Rolfe, director of the division. "We want to make sure our employes are treating everyone with respect and dignity."

Rolfe said her office has not found any evidence of wrongdoing in a review of surveillance videos of the incident. But she instructed the transgender woman and a witness, Amber Anderton, on how to file formal complaints that would trigger a more in-depth investigation.

Christopher Wharton, a board member of the Utah Pride Center and an attorney, attended the meeting to assist the transgender woman, who identifies herself as Regina Audette, although that is not her legal name. He said the video, which lacked audio and was grainy, did not reveal very much about Audette's interactions with Driver License staff.

"I wouldn't want to speculate on whether I thought there was or was not a legitimate discrimination claim," he said.

Rolfe said Audette understood why she was asked to remove her make-up to be photographed for her ID, which expresses a male identity, even though Audette disliked it. Rolfe said Audette, however, thought it was disrespectful when, after Anderton complained on Audette's behalf, a Driver License supervisor loudly stated that Audette was a man, not a woman.

Rolfe said the division, in April, will be getting additional training on transgender issues from Transgender Education Advocates of Utah (TEA of Utah).