Transgender men offer defence for being on UWI female-only hall

Nine men who were arrested for being in a restricted area at the University of the West Indies (The UWI), Mona campus in St Andrew told the Kingston and St Andrew Court last week that they had a perfectly good reason for being on the campus. They were invited as transgender women to attend a transgender movie awareness night at the female-only hall.

Ricardo Green, Brandon McNeil, Khavor Brown, Ryan Bailey, Barrington Welsh, Jordhane Bryce were all charged with being in a restricted area. The remaining three — Kareem Brown, Donique God and Michael Morgan — were slapped with the same charge, as well as being in possession of offensive weapons.

According to the investigating officer, the men were seen on the UWI campus on the day in question after 1:00 am.

However, Kareem Brown, whose explanation was adapted by the others, said that they had received an oral invitation to attend the event on the hall.

“There was a movie, it started at 8:00 pm. It was a transgender awareness event and we, as transgender women, were invited,” Brown told Chief Parish Judge Judith Pusey.

According to Brown, the event ended at 11:30 pm and there was no taxi available, so they decided to go to an area that was well lit to wait as the entire campus was covered in darkness.

“And when the officers came we explained explicitly why we were there,” Brown added.

But the investigating officer told the court that they were not aware of a movie being held on that hall and, although an event was being held, it was only for staff and students and had ended earlier.

The officer also told the court that he was surprised at their claim that they went to Mary Seacole Hall.

However, Judge Pusey told them that if they were in fact invited on campus then they would have a defence and, as a result, scheduled the matter for trial on May 12.

The accused men’s bails were extended.