Kenya: Transgender activist wins landmark case to change her name on academic certificates

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Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a landmark case on Tuesday when the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was ordered to change her name on academic certificates.

Standard Media reports KNEC now has 45 days to comply with the request of the Kenyan High Court.

“We won,” Mbugua told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s a huge watershed moment.”

The council was also ordered to remove the male gender mark on Mbugua’s certificates.

High Court Judge Justice Weldon Korir said: “I note that this is a novel issue and KNEC cannot be faulted for refusing to issue an amendment to the applicant.”

However, the court had heard that Audrey provided enough evidence for why KNEC needed to issue her a fresh certificate.

“The court takes judicial notice of the fact that examinations in this country are not administered based on the gender of the candidate. Marks are also not awarded on gender,” the court stated.

Mbugua said she intends to continue to use the courts to fight for the rights of transgender people.

Earlier this month, human rights groups urged Kenya to allow LGBT groups to carry out their work there uninterrupted.

A new anti-gay bill that would see gay people sentenced to death by stoning is currently under discussion in Kenya.

Kenyan government spokesperson Aden Duale said earlier this year that homosexuality was as serious as terrorism.

He said: “We need to go on and address this issue the way we want to address terrorism.

“It’s as serious as terrorism. It’s as serious as any other social evil.”