There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you

Yes, homosexuality is illegal in Ghana. But no, that does not mean there are no homosexuals in Ghana as a new photography project seeks to point out.

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The project by Eric Gyamfi captures people with a "queer" sexual orientation who are living in Ghana.

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In 2016, Eric received a grant from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund to support the project.

According to a project brief by the Magnum Foundation, "Just Like Us aims to start an empathetic visual representation of the LGBT community, challenging the myths and putting LGBT people back into the society as everyday people by putting their humanity at the front of it all".

According to Eric, he wanted to use his photography to show that homosexuals were indeed in Ghana.

It’s a way of establishing that there are queer people here,” he said. “Not just for the rest of the population but to provide a space for us in history.

The 15 photos and descriptions below are from his "Just Like Us" project.

1. S. meets A., her girlfriend, after work. S. is a musician and A. is studying feminism and climate change for her master’s degree.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

2. Some of the L.G.B.T. community members organize a night of dance after an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia event as a way to get to know other community members and network.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

3. O. lives with H. in his family house. She considers H. a brother.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

4. “Someday, soon, I’d have to live as a straight man,” J. told the photographer one afternoon after school. “I think about that every day.”

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

5. A. doing her friend I.’s hair. N., the young boy who leans on I.’s legs, is her son from a previous relationship.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

6. H. performing in drag.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

7. H. and his boyfriend, M.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

8. S., who is gay, contemplating his imminent marriage to a woman. His wife was selected for him by his family. “I need a child,” he said. “My parents are demanding a grandchild, too."

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

9. K., A.’s boyfriend, spending a hot afternoon outside with friends.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

10. L. and N. met through a mutual friend and have been together since September 2014. L. moved out of her home when she was 17 and has been living on her own since. “I try not to make friends. That way, I keep people away from my private life as their questions and suspicions never get answered nor confirmed,” she told the photographer. “We keep a close circle of friends who are mostly just like us. It’s not the best way to live but it has worked for us thus far.”

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

11. N., R., and N.’s nephew cleaning in the morning. N. and R. have been together for nearly two years and live together. N. is a chef and R. is a musician.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

12. A. examining herself in her bathroom mirror.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

13. H.’s family making spring rolls and pies for O.’s mother’s funeral celebration. H. played a key role in the organization of the funeral rites with O.’s family.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

14. A. and K., and little A., making rice balls for lunch. A. and K. are a couple and have been living together for almost two years. Little A., who lives in the same compound house, spends time with them when she is not school.

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

15. A. after a dance session. “My stepfather is very open minded,” he said. “I can sense that he is not so happy about dance as he doesn’t think I can make a career out of it. but he is happy that I am happy when I dance so that’s good for me. The first song I usually dance to is my father’s.”

There are gays and lesbians in Ghana and they are just like you
Image via Eric Gyamfi

This is not Eric Gyamfi's first attempt at shooting the LGBT community in Ghana.

In 2015, whiles working with an organization to end violence against queers in Ghana, he photographed the abuse victims he worked with.

However, upon showing those pictures around, he received negative feedback which highlighted how closed the Ghanaian community was to understanding the LGBT community in Ghana.

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People’s responses, which ranged from “That person deserved it” to “That person isn’t normal,” convinced him that he needed to stage a more radical intervention in how people perceived the L.G.B.T. community, and it was the idea that sparked the "Just Like Us" project.

Source: YEN.com.gh

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