CCJ rules tomorrow on Guyana public cross-dressing case

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will on Tuesday deliver its decision in the case of McEwan and others vs Attorney General of Guyana which challenged the constitutionality of a law that criminalizes wearing attire of a different gender in public for an “improper purpose.”

The decision will be delivered at the CCJ headquarters in Port of Spain.

The CCJ is Guyana's final court of appeal.

In 2009, several trans women were arrested and convicted under the 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act of the offence of being a “man” appearing in “female attire” in public for an “improper purpose.”

They spent three nights in police detention in Georgetown after their arrest for the minor crime.

In 2010, the McEwan, Clarke, Fraser, Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) brought an action challenging the constitutionality of the law and the treatment of the appellants during the legal process.

The High Court of Guyana held that cross-dressing in and of itself is not a crime, but disagreed that the law was discriminatory or disproportionately impacted trans and gender non-conforming persons. This decision was appealed to the Guyana Court of Appeal, and finally to the CCJ.

On June 28, 2018, the CCJ reserved its judgment after hearing arguments on both sides.

The CCJ will deliver its ruling on the validity of Guyana’s law against cross-dressing when the court sits Tuesday morning.

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