Transgender Advocates Challenge Guyana’s Colonial Cross-Dressing Laws

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Guyana's Colonial Cross-Dressing Laws

Three of the advocates after the court hearing Photo / Digital Guardian

Transgender advocates stymied by openly transphobic lower court judges have brought their case to the court of last resort hoping to void, or at least amend Guyana’s Colonial Cross-Dressing Laws.

The battle officially began in 2009 for Quincy McEwan, Angel Clarke, Peaches Fraser and Isabella Persaud when they and three others were arrested for wearing clothing in line with their gender expression. The four transgender women are challenging the constitutionality of an 1893 post-slavery vagrancy provision under which they and three others were detained, convicted and fined by the then Acting Chief Magistrate.

In August 2016, the Belize Supreme Court struck down Belize’s sodomy ban as unconstitutional. Because Belize and Guyana (and all member states of CARICOM) share an identical jurisprudence, Guyana’s buggery ban is also unconstitutional. However, unlike Belize, Guyana’s Constitution contains a “savings clause”, which protects laws inherited by the former British Empire from constitutional review, even if these laws run counter to fundamental human and constitutional rights.

The country is moving slowly towards acceptance of LGBT people held its first pride parade June 2018 with the support of various political and religious leaders.

Editor in Chief at

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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