The Right to Fair Administrative Action Among Transgender Kenyans: Challenges and Recommendations.
On the 26th of March 2013, I visited the Immigration Offices in Nyayo House to change my name and gender marker in my passport. In 2012, I had legally added the name Audrey to Mbugua Ithibu using a deed poll and gazette notice. On the 19th March 2013 I had applied for an addition of name in my national identity card at the Makadara District Registrar of Persons Offices, reason being I wanted a name that would fit my gender identity and expression. Gender Identity is ones self awareness as male or female and is not related to one’s anatomical sex – it is what mental health care providers refer to as an individual’s psychological sex. For those who have studied medical sciences, you will recall the three determinants of sex in humans are: chromosomes, genitals and core gender identity?
I had taken the time to write a letter articulating the two requests: change of my name and the removal of the M sex mark on my passport:
“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. 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.”
I waxed on in the letter, knowing that I was sailing through unchartered waters but remembering a kikuyu proverb my grandmother uses when reminding me that we all have what it takes to accomplish our goals i.e. guoya muingi uturagia okia mucii (too much cowardice keeps poverty at home) I decided to give it a try.