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Kenyan Trans Woman Wins Recognition in Landmark Victory

Kenyan Trans Woman Wins Recognition in Landmark Victory


Audrey Mbugua's high-profile lawsuits have not only won her the right to change her school records: They've drawn national attention to the push for transgender equality.

More than a year after she first began her legal fight, Kenyan trans rights activist Audrey Mbugua on Tuesday won her case against the Kenya National Examinations Council after the Council refused to recognize her gender identity on her school records.

Kenya's High Court ruled in Mbugua's favor, ordering the Council to recognize the 27-year-old activist's true name and remove the "male" gender marker on all of her high school certificates, reports Reuters.

Mbugua's campaign seeking recognition of her gender identity -- combined with her successful lawsuit to formally register her nongovernmental organization, Transgender Education and Advocacy, with the National NGO Council in July -- has brought unprecedented public attention to the daily plights of transgender citizens in Kenya. Mbugua founded Transgender Education and Advocacy to raise awareness about trans issues in Kenya, including the need for legal document changes, notes Reuters.

Described by Africa Review as "arguably Kenya's most famous transsexual [person]," Mbugua has been the leading voice for trans rights activism in her conservative country since 2009, when she first went public with the story of being denied access to gender-affirming surgery, notes Kenya's KTN TV station in the video below.

Although she has used her legal victories as a launchpad to publicly discuss the difficulties transgender Kenyans face when trying to find work with identification and records that do not reflect their authentic gender and name, Mbugua still has yet to learn whether she will be allowed to change her name and gender marker on her national identification card and passport.

Watch the KTN report below to learn more.

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Mitch Kellaway