Mauricio Ochieng’ is a transgender activist, liberal feminist and a Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIE-SC) Human Rights Defender from Kisumu since 2012. He responds to human rights violations and abuses, documents through online and offline security platforms and makes follow ups of cases through the legal process towards access to justice.

Ochieng’ is the co-founder of the first transgender organization in Western Kenya established in 2013 and a Programs Director  at Trans* Support Organization, a Kenyan based group that was formed in 2019 to increase opportunities and enhance the wellbeing of transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people. This is done by conducting capacity building trainings, entrepreneurship, life skills and mentorship programs. Ochieng’ Ochieng’ seeks to provide safe spaces and psychosocial support, providing information on human rights dignity and universal rights to everyone.

As a SOGIE-SC champion, he has faced a lot of challenges due to his human rights work and gender identity, he has been physically assaulted several times by his neighbors, law enforcers and family, sexually abused and rejected in other spaces, verbally abused, been arbitrary arrested and forcefully evicted from his house. Through these experiences, he was able to realize his fundamental rights and freedom and those of the people he serves. Ochieng’ became one of the petitioners in Petition 234 of 2016 seeking to repeal section 162 (a) and (c) and 165 of the Kenya Penal code that criminalized same sex relations.

Ochieng’ would love to see young transwomen mentored, empowered and their capacities built since most of them are jobless and homeless due to their gender identities. He would also love to see young trans* bodies taking lead in all spaces. His passion is driven by the tears of trans bodies, their painful stories and cases he has documented so far. Mauricio would like to meet Hon. Esther Passaris for standing up for the sexual minorities’ rights from her message: “I choose not to judge. Who are we to deny two consenting adults the joy of love and sex? It’s time for us to live and let live. I would not want to see any Kenyan killed or thrown in jail just for being different. God is love.”

International Women’s day means a day to celebrate all women and female bodies including trans-women, intersex and transgender men who fought for legal recognition of transgender, political, social and economic achievements in Kenya.

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