Audrey Mbugua continues to struggle for recognition (Source:YouTube still)

The Kenyan transgender rights group Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) won a major court battle this month when the country's high court ruled that government's Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) board must allow them to register.

Gay Star News reports that Justice George Odunga had criticized the NGO board, saying that the way TEA had been treated was "unfair, unreasonable, unjustified and in breach of the rules of natural justice."

Odunga ordered the board to reimburse TEA members Audrey Mbugua, Maureen Muia and Annet Jennifer for the three years of legal costs they had incurred in the fight.

The board said that they couldn't register TEA as an NGO because the names of the people there didn't match their birth gender, but Odunga noted that since all three had legally changed their names via deed poll, this action was unconstitutional, as it denied registration due to gender.

"A public authority cannot be allowed to get away with discriminatory actions that deny persons their right of assembly which is a clear abuse of the power bestowed on such an authority," said Odunga.

The Daily Nation reports that Mbugua, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, still battles for recognition as a transsexual woman in a separate case before the Kenya National Examinations Council. She requests to change the gender designation on her certificates because she cannot find employment while her paperwork still lists her male identity.

Mbugua wrote on the TEA website about her long struggle for appropriate recognition, including her March 26, 2013 visit to the Immigration Offices in Nyayo House to change her name and gender marker in her passport, after an earlier visit in 2012 to change her name to Audrey Mbugua Ithibu.

"The second request is unrelated to the first. I kindly request that you remove the M gender marker in my passport as it is a major impediment in my social and occupational functioning," she wrote. "This significantly compromises my security in airports, bank in addition to raising suspicion and embarrassment... I simply need a document that is in line with my gender identity and gender presentation."

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