Transgender Kenyan Audrey Mbugua: Winning The Fight for Human Rights

Audrey Mbugua

Audrey Mbugua

Audrey Mbugua is gentle, yet fierce in a way only a true trans warrior can be. Arguably one of Kenya’s most prolific advocates, Audrey is about to gain the world stage in May when she addresses the 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum.

Ms. Mbugua will join with other notable people, including former heads of state, winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, prisoners of conscience, as well as of other public figures in order to network and exchange ideas about human rights and exposing dictatorships.

Audrey Mbugua, a true trans warrior.

In 2008 Audrey Mbugua founded Transgender Education & Advocacy (TEA) an organization that defends the rights of transgender individuals in Kenya.

And in 2013 Audrey brought a case against Kenya’s examinations council trying to persuade them to allow gender confirmation surgery in-country. This unleashed a media frenzy with her story dominating front pages. Television interviewers asked her about her sex life, she was mocked online and young men in her village threatened to attack her.

“You feel like throwing yourself in front of the bus but you have to find a way of living with it,” she said. “I wanted to take as many hits as possible and show the world that you can hit a transsexual and she stands up.”

“I didn’t want people to think of people like me as cowards, as people who hide, who are ashamed of themselves,” she added.

Audrey Mbugua

That same year Audrey Mbugua (Still legally known by her deadname) stood beside a transgender sister who won a landmark decision. The judge awarded her $2232 for damages after police violated her rights and dignity by stripping her naked to ascertain her sexual identity.

On the outcome of Ms. Nthungi’s case, Audrey Mbugua said: “Although we are happy about the judgment, the judge should have compelled the police to offer a public apology. Sometimes it’s not about being compensated with money but being recognized as human.”

“I’m the soldier in the field taking the heat.”

In 2014, the High Court of Kenya ordered The National Council of NGOs to officially register and recognize TEA and pay its legal fees as a result of Mbugua’s efforts. Later that year, Mbugua won a landmark case wherein the Kenya National Examinations Council was ordered to legally change Mbugua’s name and remove the existing gender designation on her academic certificates.

Ms. Mbugua has also advocated for permission of sex reassignment therapy in Kenya by challenging the 2016 Health Bill. She continues to fight for transgender rights and was nominated for the Human Rights Tulip award by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014.

Of interest:

Sidney and Friends Kenya’s Hidden Trans Community.

Ground Breaking Kenyan Transgender Short “HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA”

Kenyan Teen arrested for being Trans is Facing New Charges

The 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum, now in its 10th year, will take place May 27-29 in Oslo, Norway. Click HERE to learn more and register to attend.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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