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Five transgender Kenyans sue government over name change

The state has been sued in a new case involving transgender people seeking name change in their national identity cards.

They claim that the refusal by the Principal Registrar of Persons to change their names on identity cards 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 identification cards.

They annexed former judgments in two landmark cases in which the high court had been asked to recognise the “third gender .

In the former cases, the NGOs board was compelled to register a Transgender Education and Advocacy group. In  the other, the national examiner, Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) was ordered to remove the gender mark in a certificate and effect a name change for Audrey Mbugua.

In the case against Knec, Justice Weldon Korir  had noted that; “It is not the business of state agencies to select names for Kenyan citizens.”

In the new documents, the transgender people argue that they have formally changed their names long after they had obtained their Identity cards

“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.

IGNORING LAW

 

They have accused the Principal Registrar 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.