Transgender lobby sues State over change of names

By: VINCENT AGOYA

The State has been sued in a new case involving transgender people who are seeking a change of names in their national identity cards.

They claim the refusal by the Principal Registrar of Persons to change their names on the IDs discriminates them and “causes them to go through a daily stigma of unemployment, unnecessary suspicion and embarrassment.”

Maurene Muia, formerly Maurice Muia, Audrey Mbugua, formerly Andrew Mbugua Ithibu, and three others identified in court documents as Dalziel , Maria Marius and Alesandra want a compulsion order against the Principal Registrar of Persons to effect the change of particulars of their “ new” names on their national IDs.

They have annexed former judgments in two landmark cases in which the High Court had been asked to recognise the “third gender.”

In the previous cases, the NGOs’ Coordination Board was compelled to register a transgender lobby group and in another the Kenya National Examinations Counci (Knec), was ordered to remove the gender mark in a certificate and effect a name change for Audrey Mbugua.

In the new case, the applicants state that they have paid up and executed deed polls already registered at the Nairobi National Registration Bureau.

When Mbugua sought a compulsion order against Knec, Justice Weldon Korir observed that “a perusal of the papers filed in court clearly shows that the applicant changed her name through a deed poll which is a legally recognised method.”

IGNORING THE LAW

“It is not the business of State agencies to select names for Kenyan citizens,’ the judge ruled.

Justice George Odunga also compelled the NGO Oversight Board to register the Transgender Education and Advocacy lobby.

In the new documents, the transgender people state they have formally changed their names since they obtained their IDs

“The applicants’ new names do not tally with their names on the said national identification cards, which has made it difficult for them to secure employment,” court filings state.

They have accused the Principal Registrar of Persons of failing in his duty as a State official by ignoring the law.

“The refusal to effect the changes is against the legitimate expectations of the applicants,” Mr Colbert Ojiambo, a lawyer representing the applicants, states in court documents.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION