THE Caribbean Court of Justice has struck down Guyana's cross-dressing law.
The court held it infringed the rights of four transgender Guyanese women who had asked the CCJ – Guyana’s final appellate court – to strike down an 1893 post-slavery vagrancy provision which led to their convictions in 2009. They have challenged the constitutionality of the law, which they say criminalises wearing attire of a different gender in public for an “improper purpose” in Guyana.
The CCJ reserved its ruling in June and the court's decision was delivered a short time ago at the CCJ in Henry Street, Port of Spain.
The four women petitioned the CCJ after Guyana’s Court of Appeal dismissed their case, in which they contended that the country’s colonial vagrancy law discriminated against them and violated equality provisions in the Constitution.
Gulliver (Quincy) McEwan, Angel (Seon) Clarke, Peaches (Joseph) Fraser and Isabella (Seyon) Persaud were charged and fined in 2009 for wearing women’s clothing for an improper purpose under Section 153 (1) (XLVII) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 8:02. They say it violates their right to the protection of the law.