Victory for Transgender Rights in Kenya

July 30, 2014

A landmark ruling has been reached in Kenya that allows the Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) to register itself as a non-governmental organization.  Kenya’s High Court, ordered the NGO Coordination Board to register the group.

“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,” cited Justice George Odunga in his ruling that was passed on July 22 2014.  Justice Odunga went on to say that the reasons advanced for refusing to register the advocacy group had no legal basis and were unreasonable.

TEA’s members had sued the body for discrimination and violation of their fundamental human rights. The NGO Coordination Board had argued that it could not recognise the group’s members since the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting their gender. The board were ordered to register TEA without any further delays.

A statement released by TEA recognises the magnitude of the ruling, and admit that there are still hurdles overcome, “ As we enter the more difficult terrain of implementation of the court orders we know that there will be serious challenges against the TEA and the brave men and women who stood up against the tyranny of those in power.”

Hivos has been supporting TEA since 2013 and the ruling is seen as validation of the work Hivos  is doing  in supporting minority rights. ‘This type of legal litigation is  what we support TEA to do. Although this ruling is an importabt milestone, we will continue to provide support for full transgender equality in Kenya,” says Lucy Mung’ala Hivos East Africa Programme Manager for LGBTI rights.

Hivos works to counter homophobia and transphobia and to further the acceptance of sexual minorities everywhere. In the course of its twenty years of support for the LGBTI movement, Hivos has helped marginalised groups turn into professional organisations that advocate for equal rights within their countries.