Texas DMV rejects vegan license plate for ‘vulgar’ phrase

22 January 2023

TEXAS (KXAN) — A Houston resident’s proposed license plate has been rejected by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, with the state agency saying the application included a “vulgar” phrase.

Catie Cryar applied for a license plate that read “LVTOFU,” according to a release from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A PETA spokesperson said the license plate “does not contain profanity and is ‘designed to inspire more people to try tofu.'”

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However, a Texas DMV spokesperson said the phrase contains “a common acronym for a vulgar term.”

“When reviewing a personalized alphanumeric pattern, the department need not consider the applicant’s subjective intent or declared meaning,” the Texas Administrative Code reads in part. Under that administrative code, automatic disqualifications for license plate applications include:

The alphanumeric pattern conflicts with Texas DMV’s current or proposed regular license plate numbering system

The Texas DMV’s director or director designee finds the proposed plate “objectionable.” Objectionable alphanumeric patterns could include words or phrases; slang in any language; patterns viewed in a mirror image; or code that only a small segment of the community might understand.

The phrase is indecent with reference to a sexual act, sexual body parts, functions, etc. The alphanumeric pattern “69” is also prohibited if it isn’t used with a full year, such as 1969, or “in combination with a reference to a vehicle.”

The phrase is directly or indirectly vulgar, with a reference to profanity, swearing or curse words.

The phrase is derogatory with direct or indirect references to a person, group, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, etc.

PETA officials said Cryar has submitted an appeal, arguing the license plate doesn’t contain profanity but a pro-veganism message.

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