Cross Dressing

Constitutional Court Rules Cross-Dressing is Not a Crime if Not for “Improper Purpose” - Rights Groups Plan Appeal on Dubious Decision

On Friday afternoon, September 6, 2013, the Honourable Chief Justice (Ag.), Mr. Ian Chang delivered his judgment in Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) vs. Attorney General of Guyana. Section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) provision makes a criminal offence of a man wearing female attire, and a woman wearing male attire, publicly, for any improper purpose. The Chief Justice said that cross-dressing in a public place is an offence only if it is done for an improper purpose.

Press Release: Constitutional Court Reserves Judgment in Guyana Cross Dressing Case

The Honourable Chief Justice, Mr. Ian Chang, sitting in the Constitutional Court, heard full arguments from lawyers acting on behalf of the applicants – Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) – as well as a response from the State, on Tuesday June 4, 2013. This is an important case that will help to determine the implications of the commitment made in the Guyana Constitution to “eliminating every form of discrimination.” Attorney, Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, St Augustine and co-coordinator of the Faculty of Law UWI Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP), Dr. Arif Bulkan, and Gino Persaud appeared for the applicants.

High Court Hearing on Guyana’s Cross Dressing Law Adjourned to June 4

On Friday 10th May, 2013, Guyana’s Chief Justice Ian Chang heard arguments in a constitutional challenge to Guyana’s nineteenth century cross-dressing law. The applicants are Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). The Faculty of Law University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP) is coordinating litigation in this case. The matter raises key questions about how the random application of outdated laws can increase the vulnerability of poor and powerless people to others’ prejudices. U-RAP argued that the law is unconstitutional because it violates fundamental rights to equality and non-discrimination.

Submission to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law

Guyana’s laws criminalize cross-dressing, consensual sex between men and aspects of sex work, thereby making vulnerable, these groups, transgenders, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and sex workers, to discrimination which causes disempowerment, barriers to effective prevention, treatment, care and support services, thereby exacerbating their vulnerability to HIV.

Marking World Day of Social Justice, Transgender Citizens, Supported by SASOD, Move to the Courts to Challenge Guyana’s Law Against ‘Cross-Dressing’

Long misunderstood and seen as legitimate targets for discrimination and abuse, transgender citizens used the occasion of the international commemoration of World Day of Social Justice to file a motion against Guyana’s law criminalizing ‘cross-dressing.’ On Friday, February 19, 2010, the notice of motion was filed before the Supreme Court of Judicature for redress claiming, among other relief, to have section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02, invalidated as irrational, discriminatory, undemocratic, contrary to the rule of law and unconstitutional. The law makes an offence of “being a man, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in female attire, or being a woman, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in male attire.”

Rights Group Urges Government to Repeal Colonial-Era Laws

Guyana has become an international laughingstock for the recent conviction and fine by our Acting Chief Magistrate on February 9th of seven Guyanese citizens for what is commonly called ‘cross-dressing.’ Within Guyana the arrests and charges on February 6th h