CCJ to rule on cross dressing case tomorrow

SASOD’s Managing Director Joel Simpson, Twinkle Bissoon, a trans-woman activist; Petronella Trotman, member of Guyana Trans United and Gulliver Mc Ewan, first named applicant and Director of Guyana Trans United, in conversation at the Court of Appeal.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will, on Tuesday, rule on whether it is acceptable or not for men to dress as women in Guyana in a landmark case advanced by Transgendered and other Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual advocates.

With the backing of human rights activist, groups including SASOD, Quincy “Gulliver” McEwan, Seon “Angel” Clarke, Joseph “Peaches” Fraser and Seyon “Isabella” Persaud will finally hear the decision of the Trinidad-based CCJ when the judges will hand down the court’s ruling in their matter tomorrow.

The four individuals are challenging Guyana’s 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act that deals with matters Against Religion, Morality & Public Convenience which makes it an offence for a man “in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose” to appear in female attire, or for a woman, “in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose” to appear in male attire.

The transgendered appellants were detained, convicted, and fined by the then acting Chief Magistrate after their February 2009 arrest in Georgetown.

After they appealed the law banning their mode of dress, former acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in September 2013 said that while the act of cross dressing was not a crime in itself, when for an “improper purpose”, constitutes an offence. That ruling was also appealed at Guyana’s Appeal Court, but their case was similarly dismissed.

Many observers believe that tomorrow’s landmark ruling could set the stage for other colonial era laws to be amended. Earlier this year, the CCJ ruled in favour of the LGBT community in neighbouring Trinidad as many in the religious community remain strongly opposed to such changes


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