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Kenya court victory as transgender rights group is allowed to officially register

Kenya’s high court has ruled that rights group Transgender Education and Advocacy must receive official recognition as a registered Non-Government Organization from the government
Kenya's Supreme Court building
Photo by K.Gituma

Kenyan transgender rights group Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) have won a major court battle, with the country’s high court ruling that the government’s Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) coordination board must allow them to register.

Justice George Odunga criticized the board for declining to recognize the group, saying that it had failed to carry out its own statutory function.

Judge Odunga said the way that TEA had been treated was, ‘was unfair, unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice,’ according to Daily Nation.

He also ordered the board to pay the legal costs TEA members Audrey Mbugua, Maureen Muia and Annet Jennifer had incurred during their three year legal fight.

The board had argued that it could not register TEA as an NGO working in Kenya because the names of the people in their paper work did not match their birth gender.

However all three had legally changed their names via deed poll and Judge Odunga found it unconstitutional to deny registration of a group because of their gender.

‘A public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions that deny persons their rights of assembly which is a clear abuse of the power bestowed on such an authority,’ he found.

Audrey Mbugua has a separate pending case against Kenya’s National Examinations Council seeking to change her gender on her educational certificates as they currently list her by her old name and as male which has made it impossible for her to find work.

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