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Guyana Laws Targeting Transgender Individuals Contested


More than a year after six transgender women in the small South American country of Guyana were arrested for wearing female clothing, a local gay rights group is calling on the nation's supreme court to strike down laws against homosexuality and "cross-dressing."

The male-to-female transgender individuals who were detained last year filed a motion on Friday with the Guyana supreme court, which has yet to indicate whether it will hear the case, according to Reuters. "It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life," Seon Clarke said of the arrest in a statement released by Guyana's Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, which is representing the women who were arrested.

The women were reportedly mocked by the judge handling the case. All were fined by the court and were subsequently released.

Guyana, a country roughly the size of Idaho with a population under 1 million, is the only remaining South American country to criminalize gay male sex (lesbian sex is legal, however). According to the International Gay and Lesbian Association, males engaged in sexual acts can be imprisoned from two years to life under current laws. Laws also prohibit transgender men and women from publicly dressing in clothing consistent with their gender identity.

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