CCJ to Rule on Validity of Guyana’s Law Against Cross-Dressing

FLASHBACK: Members of the Guyana Trans United and SASOD along with their attorneys last year, after the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that cross-dressing is not a crime but disagreed that the law was discriminatory. (Credit: Guyana Chronicle)

UPDATE: The CCJ said late Monday morning via Twitter that “there was some miscommunication”, and the date for the judgment is not yet set. 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday October 29, 2018
– The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will tomorrow deliver its decision in a case which challenged the constitutionality of a law that criminalizes wearing attire of a different gender in public in Guyana.

The decision in Quincy Mc Ewan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud vs. The Attorney General of Guyana, will be delivered at the CCJ headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the afternoon, according to Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).

In 2009, four trans women were arrested and convicted under the 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act of the offence of being a “man” appearing in “female attire” in public for an “improper purpose.”

They spent three nights in police detention in Georgetown after their arrest for the crime.

In 2010, the trans women and SASOD brought an action challenging the constitutionality of the law and the treatment of the appellants during the legal process.

The High Court of Guyana held that cross-dressing in and of itself is not a crime, but disagreed that the law was discriminatory or disproportionately impacted trans and gender non-conforming persons.

This decision was appealed at the Guyana Court of Appeal, and finally at the CCJ, which is Guyana’s highest court.

On June 28 this year, the CCJ reserved its judgement after hearing arguments from both sides.

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