CCJ Declares Guyana’s Cross-Dressing Law Unconstitutional
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that a law in Guyana, which makes it a criminal offence for a man or a woman to appear in a public place while dressed in clothing of the opposite sex for an “improper purpose”, is unconstitutional. The law, Section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, is to be struck from the laws of Guyana. The case of Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) v The Attorney General of Guyana began with the arrest of the appellants in February 2009.
Four of the appellants, who identify as transgender persons, were arrested, convicted and punished for cross-dressing in public. At the time of arrest, McEwan was dressed in a pink shirt and a pair of tights and Clarke was wearing slippers and a skirt. A few hours later, Fraser and Persaud were also arrested by the police and taken to the Brickdam Police Station. At the time, they were dressed in skirts and were wearing wigs.