Audrey Mbugua might not be an inter-sex person, but her condition is also one loaded with stigma. Audrey is trans-sexual, a term that refers to an individual who identifies with a physical sex that is different from their biological one.
Seven years ago when she turned 19, she started the journey to a trans-sexual woman. The then Andrew Mbugua started hating his male body and “all those things that men do”. He grew up as a boy — had been circumcised and had even started dating girls.
He had gone to a boys’ secondary school before proceeding to Moi University for his biomedical degree after scoring an A- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. Throughout the college days, Mbugua stayed in the men’s hostels.
Disclosing his feelings and decision to convert to a woman to the family posed a dilemma. “I didn’t know how to start and who to begin with, but eventually I decided to inform everyone (siblings and parents) at their own time.
His father could not handle the news that his third born son wanted to become a woman and almost collapsed.
“I hated myself for having put him through that,” Mbugua says and adds, “With time, I reconciled with myself and began the healing process by going public about my status and offering counselling services to trans-gender and inter-sex individuals and their families, says Mbugua, the programmes director at TEA.
Save for a few features (the long legs and wide chest), Mbugua appears more feminine than male. She keeps long hair, is soft-spoken, and wears women’s clothes, complete with make-up and earrings.
Though her family has accepted her, not everyone understands her decision.
“Some relatives openly say that I am crazy and want nothing to do with me.” She admits that initially, the rejection was a bitter pill to swallow but she is now used to it and does not allow it to bother her.