DIRECTORS of local LGBTQI advocacy group CAISO (Coalition Advancing the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation) Dr Angelique Nixon and Colin Robinson yesterday welcomed the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the appeal of four transgender Guyanese women. Nixon and Robinson, who were at the CCJ, in Port of Spain for the ruling, said the decision was not only for the transgender community, but “all the small people” who felt they could not access justice.
They lauded the “brave” efforts of Gulliver (Quincy) McEwan, Angel (Seon) Clarke, Peaches (Joseph) Fraser and Isabella (Seyon) Persaud, who were charged and fined in 2009 for wearing women’s clothing for an improper purpose.
“This is a historic ruling, particularly because it was brought by working class, transgender women who had the bravery and courage to seek justice from a system that does not usually work for them.
“Today is a day of justice,” Nixon said.
Both she and Robinson said they were impressed by the CCJ, adding the court showed that the poor and working class could access justice in a system that makes it difficult to do so.
“It shows what important judicial institutions can do. It is such a shame that Antigua and Grenada do not want a court that delivers justice to the small people as the CCJ has done, Robinson said.
“This is a win for justice and our access to justice and it is an encouragement to transform our justice system, and the need for us to demand better of our justice system,” Nixon said.
“It is a long hard road, but I feel relieved and happy,” she added.
Both CAISO’s directors were also pleased with the CCJ’s finding on the “savings clause”, which protects pre-Independence laws from constitutional challenges.
“The Constitution is no longer held hostage to savings clauses,” Robinson said. He said there was now the need to create justice that was forward-thinking.
Nixon, meanwhile, said hopefully the CCJ’s decision will set precedent regionally and locally, but said “as important as laws are, we also have to do work transform the culture to create more acceptance and tolerance.”
“We deserve all rights and protections and all of our families and friends. A cultural change needs to happen.”