A Kenyan transgender activist yesterday won a landmark case to change the name on her high school exam certificate.
The high court gave the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) 45 days to change the name from Andrew Mbugua to Audrey Mbugua on her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
She graduated with an A- grade.
The male gender mark will also be removed and any cost will be met by Mbugua.
Mbugua described her win as ‘a huge watershed moment.’
She told AFP, ‘I went to court in 2010 to compel the national examination council to change my name appearing in my school certificates, as well as to remove the gender marks.
‘I hope the society will accommodate us. We do not want to go to court to emphasise our rights. We are not seeking any special rights.
‘I have never been more hopeful than I am today.’
Transgender people have difficulty finding employment because of the discrepancy between their appearance and the gender mark on their official documents.
Judge Weldon Korir said KNEC had failed to show why it could not make the changes.
He said, ‘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 based on gender.
‘Removal of the gender mark will therefore not dilute the quality of the certificate.’
He added, ‘Every human being has a value. Human dignity can be violated through humiliation, degradation or dehumanization. Each individual has inherent dignity which our constitution protects.
‘Human dignity is the cornerstone of the other human rights enshrined in the constitution.’
This is Mgubue’s second legal victory. In July the high court ordered the National NGO Council to register her group, Transgender Education and Advocacy, and pay their legal fees.