The Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 8:02 provides –
Section 153 (1) Every person who does any of the following acts shall, in each case, be liable to a fine of not less than seven thousand nor more than fifteen thousand dollars—
(xlvii) being a man, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in femal attire; or being a woman, in any public way or place, for any improper purpose, appears in male attire; or [L1.2].
On 21 November 2018, it was reported that the government says it respects the ruling of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that recently ruled as ”unconstitutional” a law here that makes it a criminal offence for a man or a woman to appear in public while dressed in clothing of the opposition sex [R1.1].
Now see 2. Courts & Tribunals below at [C1.9], [R1.8]
||Courts & Tribunals
On 13 November 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that Section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Guyana’s Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act , which makes it a criminal offence for a man or a woman to appear in a public place while dressed in clothing of the opposite sex for an ”improper purpose”, is unconstitutional [C1.9], [R1.8].
On 27 June 2018, the five-judge Caribbean Court of Justice was reported to have reserved judgment in an appeal filed by Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser and Seyon Persaud, four transgender women from Guyana, who are challenging Section 153 (1) (XLVII) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, one of the country’s ”archaic” laws which makes it an offence for men or women to cross-dress in public for any ”improper purpose” [R1.7].
On 28 February 2017, the Court of Appeal in an oral decision delivered by the acting Chancellor, the Honourable Carl Singh, confirmed the ruling of the then acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in the High Court that the expression of one’s gender identity as a trans person is not in and of itself a crime. However, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal, rejecting the appellants’ arguments that the law in question – making it an offence for a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ to cross-dress in public ‘for any improper purpose’ – discriminates based on gender and violates multiple equality provisions in the Constitution [R1.6].
On 06 September 2013, acting Chief Justice Ian Chang ruled that cross-dressing is a criminal offense under the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act only if it’s done for an “improper purpose” such as prostitution and not if only “for the purpose of expressing or accentuating his or her personal sexual orientation in public”. The challenge failed to prove the law amounts to discrimination contrary to the constitution [R1.5].
On 04 June 2013, Chief Justice, Mr. Ian Chang, sitting in the Constitutional Court reserved his decision in Quincy McEwan, Seon Clarke, Joseph Fraser, Seyon Persaud and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), that section 153(1) (xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act (1894) which criminalizes cross-dressing for an ‘improper purpose’ violates the Constitution of Guyana [R1.4].
On 19 February 2010, six male-to-female transgender individuals who were detained last year filed a motion calling on Guyana’s supreme court to strike down laws against homosexuality and “cross-dressing” [L1.3], [C1.2], [R1.1].