Discriminatory Laws

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 The matter raises key questions about how the random application of outdated laws can increase the vulnerability of poor and powerless people to others’ prejudices.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.

The Obama Administration’s Fact Sheet

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. There are many things President Obama has done that the LGBT community can be proud of, including appointing a record number of LGBT persons to serve in his administration.

Opening remarks by Sir Shridath Ramphal at the showing of the film ‘Call Me Kuchu’

My first words must be of thanks to Tim Otty for the generosity of his words of introduction. I have been fortunate to have lived a life in which I was privileged to pursue noble causes like the one that brings us here tonight and in doing so to work with dedicated men and women like Tim. I learnt that together, against the odds, we could prevail. If there is one message I could leave tonight, it is to counsel you that in this matter, too, we shall prevail.

News Report: Government Abdicating Responsibilities in Protecting Rights of Gay Citizens

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon’s suggestion that the sanctioning of two female soldiers presents an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons to press their case for decriminalisation is an abdication of the government’s responsibility to protect all of its citizens from discrimination, according to rights group SASOD.