Transgender woman appears in ‘unisex’ clothing at Court after warned by Magistrate

Last Updated on Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 7:43 by Derwayne Wills

Petronella (in black) engages with SASOD executive director Joel Simpson (in white) outside city magistrate Dylon Bess’s Court today.
News Source photo.

A transgender woman, Ronnel Trotman known as Petronella, was yesterday granted entry in the courtroom of city magistrate Dylon Bess, when she presented herself in ‘unisex’ clothing as requested by that magistrate who refused to hear her matter late January as she was dressed in female attire.

Petronella was physically assaulted by a known acquaintance last year. The matter was reported at the Brickdam Police Station and the perpetrator was charged for assault.

The case was heard before Bess on January 31, but according to Petronella, she was admonished for attending court dressed in female attire, consistent with her gender identity.

“I am only aware of two types of genders; that is male and female. I don’t know about any transgender,” Magistrate Bess reportedly told Petronella in January.

He reportedly admonished Petronella that she must attend his court on the next scheduled date (February 7) dressed in pants, a shirt and without any earrings. Petronella complied today with the request.

Petronella had said Bess warned if she failed to comply with his instructions, he will deal with her accordingly.

The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) and Guyana Trans United (GTU) were prepared to have an impromptu protest outside the court yesterday, if Petronella was denied access. She was allowed to enter and her matter heard.

It was expected she would again present herself in female attire, but she acceded to the Magistrate’s request, and came to court yesterday casually dressed in a black jersey, and pants. She wore a female business suit at her last court date.

Petronella’s case against the man accused of assaulting her, Jamal Johnson, will come up again on February 27 in Bess’s court.

SASOD’s managing director, Joel Simpson, told Demerara Waves Online yesterday that Petronella presented herself in court in unisex attire because of fear that if she did otherwise, she would be held in contempt of court.