In a major victory for LGBTI rights in Kenya, a court has slammed a government body for refusing to recognise a transgender advocacy group.
The Daily Nation reports that high court Justice George Odunga ordered the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board to register Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), which was established in 2008.
In his landmark ruling, Justice Odunga described the board’s actions as “unfair, unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of rules of natural justice.”
He said that constitutional rights cannot be deferred on the basis of gender identity.
“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 ruled.
The board’s claim that the names of the people who applied for TEA’s registration did not reflect their gender was dismissed by the judge who said there was evidence that they had indeed changed their names through a deed poll.
Justice Odunga further ordered the board to pay the plaintiffs – Audrey Mbugua, Maureen Muia and Annet Jennifer – for the costs of their three-year legal battle over the issue.
In 2012, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported that “transgender people in Kenya suffer stigma and discrimination and are not able to access gender re-assignment therapy.”