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Striking Down Victorian-Era Cross-Dressing Law in Public Ban

The Ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice in McEwan et al v the Attorney General of Guyana

Rajiv Jebodh

This review considers how another outdated postcolonial law has been struck down in a former British colony amidst campaigns, global change and action by an appellate court. This follows from the historic 2018 Supreme Court ruling from Trinidad and Tobago in the Jason Jones judgement, in which it was decided that existing laws prohibiting consensual adult intercourse and sexual acts between consenting same-sex adults were unconstitutional. This review adds to that decision to highlight further social and sociolegal change in the region which has direct implications for future challenges to postcolonial laws which are ‘sitting on the books’. My review looks at recent case law which has overturned Guyana’s Victorian-era cross-dressing prohibition, as it relates to 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act of Guyana.