In landmark decision, CCJ tells Guyana to strike out cross-dressing law

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In a landmark decision Tuesday morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the section of Guyana’s law which prohibits cross-dressing be struck out as it serves no legal or social purpose and inhibits the right to freedom of expression.

Five years ago, then Chief Justice Ian Chang had ruled that that cross-dressing by men, who identify as female, was not a crime but said that in so dressing it should not be for an “improper purpose.”

This still left those who cross-dress open to arrests by the Police.

As a result, Quincy Mc Ewan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser and Seyon Persaud appealed the decision at the CCJ, Guyana’s final court.

In the Judgement, the CCJ ruled that the law – Section 153 (1) (xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction Act Chapter 8:02 – be struck out of the laws of Guyana.

The Court ruled that the law belonged to the Victorian era and so should be struck out as it violated the appellants right to non-discrimination and freedom of expression.

The Court ruled that the expression of identity and individual liberty is protected under the right to freedom of expression and that cross-dressing poses no risk to society.

The legal challenge began in 2010 following a Police crackdown on male cross-dressers.

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