Religious & Anti-gay-rights Groups Spark Uproar After Ghana Opens Its First LGBT+ Community Centre

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More countries have continued to enable and open up acceptance towards the welfare and peaceful existence of members of the LGBTQI community all around the world but African countries continue to take backward paces. 

At present, there are 72 countries with laws against the existence of Queer people in their space and African countries make up a huge percentage of this. They include countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and the others. 

Since 1992, Ghana’s constitution have been adjusted to be unfavorable to Queer people. At the International Airport in Accra, a sign states, “Ghana does not welcome pedophiles and sexual deviants.” The Ghanaian population associates sexual deviance with the LGBT community and sometimes they take matters into their own hands by accosting suspiciously gay people. 

We did not expect such an uproar. We expected some homophobic organizations would use the opportunity to exploit the situation and stoke tension against the community, but the anti-gay hateful reaction has been unprecedented.

said Alex Kofi Donkor, director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, which hosted the centre’s launch on Jan. 31 attended by European and Australian diplomats.

However, the recent upbeat in discussion is inspired by the establishment of a LGBTQI office by  LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a Pro-LGBT rights organization, in Accra. This was done amidst opposition and stern condemnation from anti-LGBT rights groups. Some of the anti-LGBT associations include The Christian Council of Ghana who has described LGBTQI as a disease that demands immediate counsel and appropriate cure. 

Other organisations include Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference whose president, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, said the Conference associates itself with Lawyer Moses Foh-Amoaning and the coalition that are crusading relentlessly against homosexuality in Ghana.

“We call upon the President of the Republic and Parliament to state unambiguously their position on the matter of homosexuality and its practice in Ghana. We also call on the Government of Ghana to close down the LGBTQI office space that was recently opened in Accra,” he said in a statement. 

Individuals including Prof Gyampo who was caught on tape in BBC’s sex-for-grade expose last year , Antwi Danso Dean of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usmanu Nuhu Sharubutu who has called on the government to shut down the newly opened office, have spoken strongly against LGBT freedom. 

The resource centre and Ghana’s Queer People have received support from the International organisations and governments and a coalition of Ghanaian feminists amongst whom are women based in USA, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal and Israel.

“We unapologetically and unreservedly stand in support of LGBT+ people to live with dignity and under safe conditions in Ghana. And we call on allies to do the work of speaking up for queer and trans people as they are subjected to violence by the state, religious institutions and the public,” the organisation said. 

Pelumi Salako

Pelumi Salako is a freelance journalist and writer interested in the intersection of arts and culture

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