Friday, 18 October 2013

Kenyan Atheist Transgender Audrey Mbugua Fighting For Her Identity In A Christian Country

Audrey Mbugua is one of my heroes.
There is one brave woman in the news over in Kenya, lately.

Audrey Mbugua was born a boy but she never felt comfortable identifying as a male.
A landmark case before the High Court could have far reaching implications on how persons of transgender are treated. 
It involves a woman, born 29 years ago as Andrew Mbugua Ithibu, but who chose to change her gender.  Unable to win Government recognition of her new status as a woman, Audrey Mbugua Ithibu has now taken the battle to court.
Audrey adopted her new name as part of her re-identification as a woman after being diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorders/Transsexualism by a psychiatrist in 2008. However, her old name, 'Andrew', remains on important government identification, such as her passport and academic certificates which affect her ability to obtain a job or travel abroad.
“The process of changing my name and gender in my identity, travel and academic documents was fraught with challenges such as lack of understanding among public officers in charge of these processes,” Audrey says.
Her attempts to have her name formally changed in the eyes of the government and educational bodies in Kenya have forced her to the courts.

And guess who's working against her?

Transgender Movement Planting Roots in Kenya
The Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship is challenging Audrey Mbugua’s petition, warning it would set a precedent contrary to the Christian view of creation and encourage gay unions.
Yep, the Kenyan Christian Lawyers Fellowship, which is, I guess, the sort of thing we'll be seeing more of here in Canada once Trinity Western University gets their accreditation to open Canada's first Christian Law School. But, I digress.

Audrey is not only transgender. She's also atheist in a predominantly Christian country with a stigma against atheists.
Mbugua, who said she is an atheist, grew up as Andrew while struggling with her gender.
That's one brave, brave woman. And her case is apparently poised to potentially change the legal status of LGTB people in Kenya. You know, like potentially giving them equal rights under the law.
Now the Kenya Christian lawyer’s fellowship has joined her case and want it thrown out. The lawyers want Audrey Mbugua to provide medical evidence to back her demand for a sex change. And as Wilkister Nyabwa reports, the organisation claims the case may pave the way for homosexuality and lesbianism.
Pave the way for homosexuality and lesbianism! Horrors! I guess nobody told them that LGTBQ people have existed, since... forever. It's just that they've been treated like dirt since... (likely) forever. If you'd like to get a small picture of this, just watch this news coverage where they have the banner THIS MAN IS AUDREY! on the bottom the whole time. Looks like there is a ways to go in Kenya.

And as for the Christian Lawyers Fellowship, one Montreal Gazette blogger pretty much sums things up for me with this glorious paragraph.
If ever there was a case of Christians trying to force their primitive, superstitious belief systems on other people — and the trans person in question here says she is an atheist — it is this one. To  complicate matters even more, the holier-than-thou Christians are confusing gender identity with sexual orientation, perhaps purposefully, or perhaps through sheer ignorance.
Now, now, It's not ignorant, their "Bible told them so!"

Audrey, you go, girl! You're my hero.

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