For starters, transgender is basically a state where the mind is in conflict with the body, better put as body hormones not matching with the assigned sex, so to speak. It is more of a disorder than a disease.
Meet Audrey Mbugua a transsexual who has struggled with depression all her lifetime trying to convince a very conservative society that she is a woman and not a man. Being referred to as a gay or bewitched or mentally ill or worse still, possessed with evil spirits is not easy to stomach for 29 years. She grew up like any other typical village boy, a dad’s favourite, naturally intelligent with ostensibly a bright future. From the talking, laughing, walking style and general mannerism, depict attributes of a lady. Some fascinating facts about Audrey is that, she would drive at 13 years of age, she does not believe in existence of God, she is more attracted to women as opposed to men and at one time she used to repair computers to earn a living.
Attending over 18 interviews and having the same response, that of a stunned panel who seemingly confused, are unable to comprehend and reconcile the impressive c.v with the said woman standing in front of them. Tired of being trapped in a world that no one else knew of, fighting stereotypes, humiliation, controversy and misconception for 19 years, dared to break the silence and confront the ignorant, insensitive and intolerant society. She was simply tired of being called Andrew, it was a hard reality she refused to accept.
This consequently and over the years culminated to a case she has filed in court to sue the Attorney General and Kenya National Examination Council for failing to recognize her plight. KNEC is reluctant to change her name because she has not undergone full sex change, meaning she is still a ‘man’. She at one time, however came close to undergoing a surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital only for the minister of Medical Services by then Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o ordering the hospital not to carry out the operation. Not withstanding the very many challenges she has endured over the years, went ahead to score an A- in her KCSE making her eligible to study Law in University of Nairobi. It’s a prestigious course by any Kenya standards, which she declined to undertake and settling for Biochemist in the not so popular Maseno University. She graduated with an upper second class honours degree, which is not a mean achievement factoring the stigmatisation she has gone through.
The thick skinned young lady oozes courage, is passionate about her instincts, articulate on issues affecting transgenders in Kenya and simply unbowed. It’s a delicate topic which needs as sober mind, we can only wish her luck.