Guyana Transwomen pursue freedom to express their gender identity at the Regional Caribbean Court of Justice

2018

Four transgender litigants in Guyana have successfully challenged the country’s ‘cross-dressing legislation’ which was repetitively used to persecute and oppress transwomen wearing female attire. The cross-dressing case was initially filed in 2010 following a series of arrests of transwomen. In 2016 the Constitutional Court of Guyana ruled that cross-dressing was not a crime, unless done […]

Four transgender litigants in Guyana have successfully challenged the country’s ‘cross-dressing legislation’ which was repetitively used to persecute and oppress transwomen wearing female attire. The cross-dressing case was initially filed in 2010 following a series of arrests of transwomen. In 2016 the Constitutional Court of Guyana ruled that cross-dressing was not a crime, unless done for ‘improper purposes’ and that transwomen were not breaking the law by expressing their gender identity. To get a more extensive definition of what an ‘improper purpose’ is and to ensure that transwomen are not subject to the scrutiny of a law enforcer they might bump into, an appeal was filed in 2017 to the Guyana Court of Appeal. This Appeal was dismissed which led the litigants to seek redress with the Regional Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). On 28 June 2018, the Court of Justice held its hearing of the litigants in the case. If the CCJ rules in favor of the litigants, the cross-dressing appeal case will allow for persons in the LGBTI community to cross-dress without fear of breaking the law.

One of the litigants is Gulliver McEwan, the Director of Guyana Trans United, one of COC’s partner organisations in Guyana. In this short video she shares an insight on what it means to be Transgender in Guyana and why a favorable decision by the CCJ would be so important for her.