Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua gets updated KCSE certificate

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | FILE


The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has issued Audrey Ithibu Mbugua with a new Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate after altering the gender marker box from male (m) to a variable character denoted as one (1).

In June 2019, the Appellate court upheld a decision compelling Knec to change her academic certificates reflecting her new identity.

The exam council had moved to the Court of Appeal challenging the High Court’s rule demanding that it alters her academic certificates.


“I have finally received my KCSE certificate indicating my correct three names. Early this month, Knec had issued me with the certificate but it did not have my surname. I requested for the inclusion of the name and I got it today,” she told Nation on phone.

However, Audrey is bothered with the gender marker allocated by the exam council. 


Justices Philip Waki, Gatembu Kairu and Otieno Odek who ruled on her case ordered the Kenya Examinations Council to remove gender markings on her certificates.

“I intend to write to Knec requiring them to remove the marking (1). I do not know what it represents and the law was clear that it should not have any gender markings,” she said.

Audrey, formally known as Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, was born and raised as a male. As Andrew, he attended Kiambu High, a boys’ school, where he sat his KCSE in 2001 and scored a mean grade of A- (minus).


Like other certificates, Ms Mbugua's was inscribed with the mark, M, signifying the male gender.

In January 2012, by gazette notice Ms Mbugua published by a deed poll, she renounced the name Andrew and assumed ‘Audrey Ithibu Mbugua’.

She then wrote to Knec requesting to effect the changes in her certificate. The council at first appeared to agree but later dismissed her request, forcing Ms Mbugua to move to court.

Justice Korir ruled in her favour but Knec appealed, arguing that the certificate was issued in accordance with the registration particulars “under which he registered for the examination”.