Gay and lesbian people in Ghana - What is the current situation?

Gay and lesbian people in Ghana - What is the current situation?

In Ghana, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) acts are illegal. Most of the Ghanaians involved in this acts have faced both violent as well as physical homophobic attacks not only in the public but also in the family settings. The violence reports have greatly increased in Ghana to an extent of making the ‘human rights campaigners’ to try to call for an end to the violence as well as discrimination of same-sex partners.

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Source: Human Rights Watch

“No Choice but to Deny Who I Am: Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT People in Ghana,” was the title of a report on homosexuality in Ghana. The report came with a revelation that the country’s Criminal Offense Act prohibits as well as punishes those who engage in “unnatural carnal knowledge,” which translates as “penile penetration of anything other than a vagina.” Now, what is the current situation in Ghana? Here is all we know so far regarding some of the violent attacks that have made lesbian and gay marriage to make headlines and the country’s current situation on the issue.

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Violence incidences of lesbian and gay news in Ghana

There are scattered cases of violence as well as discrimination of LGBT people in Ghana reports going viral from time to time. Some of the incidences reported include:

In 2009, a Ghanaian lady was called by the District Chief Executive of her town for a meeting. Innocently, the lady went and found a group of more than 50 people. She was put in the middle of the large group and asked if she was a lesbian. She feared and quickly responded that she is not a lesbian. A police officer woke up and kicked her on her mouth using his boot. She felt pain and started bleeding. Suddenly, every member of the group started to cruelly beat her up and dragged her outside. A certain boy took a car tire and he put it on her neck. In simple words, the mob wanted to burn her to death and therefore poured petrol all over her body. One pastor even told her to confess her acts before saying goodbye to the world. A 30-year-old lady confessed this.

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Back in 2015 in the month of August at Nima in Accra, a man suspected to be a gay was sadistically and heartlessly assaulted. The Ghanaian man was renowned to be a member of Safety Empire, which is a vigilante group.

Last year, 2017, the brutal assault act was reported yet again though in Ashanti region. This time unbelievable happened, a woman suspected her daughter of having a relationship with another woman. What she did was to organize a mob that could beat them up.

Lesbian and gay pride suggestions

Such incidents made campaigners of Human Right Watch to interview a total of 114 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people, Ghana human rights organization representatives, 3 diplomats, as well as police commissioner, to give their suggestions on the issue. Read on some of the things discussed about the gay and lesbian relationships at the Human Right Watch Interview. They include:

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  1. Wendy Isaack, who is a Human Right Watch researcher openly gave her suggestions on the matter. To her, there some homophobic statements made by very prominent people in the society from the shades of traditional elders, officials of national government, as well religious leaders that sometimes incite the violence. For instance, Mike Ocquoye who is the Ghana speaker of parliament, called for more strict laws against the lesbian and gay people in Ghana. In fact, he referred to them as ‘abomination,’ telling that they don’t have a difference with savages.
  2. All the Ghanaians that are LGBT should at least get government protection just as other straight people.
  3. The LGBT Ghanaians need to feel safe in their country because that is their home and therefore the government should try to address the discrimination as well as the stigma.

The LGBT Ghanaians are beaten, sometimes threatened, and even driven away from their homes. To them, their current president Nana Akufo-Addo made the violence, stigma, and discrimination to worsen. He went on an interview with Al Jazeera and said that the LGBT criminalizing Ghana law cannot change because there was no strong coalition that has ever demanded for a change.

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There some Ghanaian leaders such as Mac-Darling Cobbinah who is a leading activist in Ghana that try to encourage the Ghanaian community to take into consideration LGBT issues, he said that during an interview with ‘The Independent.’ He added by saying that, “I think we need to employ a lot more allies who will speak on the issues and not hide behind screens as existing currently.” To him sex type is not based on the sexual minorities of human rights, it all is all based on the dignity as well as the humanity of persons. He, therefore, supports the rainbow nation that will be created by anyone who makes a move. It is very bad to send someone out of their country just because of their sexual desires.

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A Ghanaian gay person in the interview could not even allow the interview to reveal his identity because he feared his community. To him, to be a same-sex person in Ghana requires loads of strength because they undergo very negative experiences from all around. He continued by saying that they face abuse from their families, health facilities, and the community as a whole. Rejection, injustice, blackmail, as well as extortion, take the better part of them. Some experience very unfair experiences such as work dismissal just because of their sexuality, healthcare inequalities, neglect, legal injustice, as well as maltreatment. You can imagine that all this has made others to consider suicide or even to isolate themselves from their people.

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Here are some of his own words, “As Ghanaians we need to start a rigorous discussion around the promotion of human rights [for LGBT people], redefining legal terms and, if possible, repealing laws that criminalize homosexuality.”

In clearer words, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in Ghana are trying to request the government to support and change the Criminal Law Act of the country. They don’t want to be treated like outcasts in their country because they are human beings that belong to a family. They are sons, teachers, as well as daughters and they deserve love, dignity, and respect just like any other person.

With the government of Ghana consider the lesbian and gay marriage? Well, let us wait for their response to know if they will change the Criminal Law Act against them. What is your suggestion on the topic of Gay and lesbian marriage? Use our comment section to share with us and we will truly appreciate.

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