On Sept. 6, 2013, the Guyanese Supreme Court released an important decision regarding the country's law prohibiting cross dressing "for an improper purpose." The ruling includes both encouraging and troubling elements.
It began in 2003 with about 10 university students responding to an injustice: In Guyana's constitution, there is no legal protection for LGBT people. Now SASOD is awaiting judgment in a suit filed against the state for unconstitutional violations of four transgender individuals' rights.
SASOD just marked its 10th anniversary on June 7 (it was June 7, 2003, when then Students Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination entered the public sphere in Guyana), so it seems an opportune time to reflect on where we are in achieving human rights and equality for all Guyanese.
As we commemorate IDAHO this year, we should reflect on how homophobic and transphobic discrimination affects Guyanese children, robbing them of their innocence and dignity and damaging the next generation. But we can, and we must, change that.
While the argument may be made that certain articles of the constitution offer general protections against all kinds of discrimination, Guyana has retained archaic, colonial-era legislation, such as laws that criminalize cross-dressing and specifically penalize gender-nonconforming individuals.