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Gay Ghanians Come Out as Civil Society Abandons Them

Gay Ghanians Come Out as Civil Society Abandons Them
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Fed up with both day after day of nasty newspaper headlines and one civil society leader after another abandoning them, last Friday Accra’s gay community came out, one-by-one, at a major ‘straight’ forum.

Ghanian blogger Graham Knight described the collective coming out as “remarkable.”

The forum was the ‘Talk Parti‘, a monthly space for Accra’s “dopest artists and media creatives.” It “provides a space for young people to create innovative projects, exchange ideas about global art and politics.”

“The event last week showed the [voguing] film Paris is Burning and they had invited [gay leader] Prince MacDarling and his crew,” says Knight, “some of whom represented his Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (CAHG). One by one, these guys stood up and announced they were gay (or gay but with girlfriend).”

In a Facebook comment, Independent Filmmaker Akua Ofosuhene said:

“It was great to see such a self confident, articulate, sharin and stylish Accra Gay community. The discussions were great and testimony to all that is great in Ghana.”

Knight said that in the discussion gay people said that all the recent negative press had actually highlighted the issue to isolated MSM’s (Men who have Sex with Men) and “showed they were not alone.” As a result: “They didn’t seem to have any strong views on the negative publicity.”

The attacks on LGBTs in the media began after a false but widely repeated report in May claiming that ’8,000 homosexuals had been registered’ at an NGO.

The origins of the ‘registered homosexuals’ story are a humble USAID workshop, wrote Graham Knight in June:

“The workshop was attended by about 30 health workers. One of the doctors present made a wild guess that there were 8000 MSMs [men who have sex with men] in the combined Western and Eastern regions. It seems that this unsubstantiated opinion has been leapt upon by the media whilst refusing to give the background to the claim. It has led the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to publicly state that no NGO is registering homosexuals in Ghana.”

“The real story is of a rather low-key workshop that has been sensationalised by the press, possibly with the collusion of a local doctor. The press reports are designed to create fear as are the unrepresentative group of Muslims claiming an imminent Sodom and Gomorrah for Africa.”

This then led to an internationally reported call by the Western Regional Minister in Ghana, Paul Evans Aidoo, to arrest gays and then a steady stream of stories in Ghanaian media on homosexuality. Nana Ama Bonsu, writing for In Depth Africa:

“The issue of homosexuality has dominated the Ghanaian airwaves and print media for quite a while, which is unusual in a country where our attention span on issues is about the same as a butterfly, fluttering from one flower to another.”

Said CAHG:

“Reports are flying virtually every day on front pages of newspapers, promoting fear and hatred against homosexuality.”

And much of Ghana’s well-developed civil society fled because, wrote Abdul Musah Sidibe:

“Anyone who attempts to speak out against the apparent human rights violation and the seeming unconstitutional rallying cry is labelled a homosexual. And in a very homophobic society, that is enough to silent critics and continue the rage.”

The Ghanian AIDS Commission (GAC), the independent human rights commission and the local branch of Amnesty have all publicly abandoned LGBT people.

Laureta Vivian Lamptey, Ghana’s new Commissioner at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), an independent body advising the government, disastrously explained to a radio interviewer why – unlike her predecessor – she wouldn’t take up LGBT human rights because homosexuality is viewed as unAfrican in Ghana and “we (CHRAJ) should be wherever our country should be.”

“I don’t think we have to simply copy the Western world on everything,” she said, “because someone can say this is where you should be in terms of rights of individuals.”

This followed an earlier statement that she made which was “misquoted,” she said, calling for decriminalization of homosexuality.

Her predecessor, Anna Bossman, said that gays and lesbians should not be condemned based on societal attitudes and that the Ghana constitution provides for freedom from discrimination.

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3:35PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Peggy B,
Luke 6:37, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

1 Corinthians 13:13 "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Galations 5:6 ".....The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

I get so frustrated with people who use The Bible to try and crucify others. I also feel sad for you and what must have happened to you in you life that has hardened your heart so much. A hateful heart is so much heavier then a loving one. Hoping lots of love and light comes your way to brighten up the darkness and so you can throw that light back out to others.

1:53PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Peggy, when you do meet you're god, he is going to reject you.

straight to hell, sweetie, for hating, the ultimate sin for which there is no cure.

1:51PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Gays are disease-carrying murderers. Such Black Africans are committing genocide against their own brothers and sisters.

Leviticus 20:13 "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

1:38PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

How tragic! Those gays are lucky I'm not God! They are a bunch of sickos who shouldn't be on the planet.

7:19PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

In the face of finding a line between self-exposure and personal safety (or, for that matter, how far do one's rights go before they become onerous to other people), kenny s attempts to crush conversation with her preferred bigotry -- doesn't this binary little know-nothing express anything besides her bottomless well of hate? Doesn't she see how perfectly she mirrors the traits she'd object to in anyone else?

10:01AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011


1:37AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:52PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

People should just be who they are.So many seem homophobic, makes me wonder what closet they are hiding in?? Congrats for standing up and coming out, I applaud you.

6:27PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Brave men. Were there no women or is "corrective rape" a very real threat in Ghana?

4:20PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

ROB AND JAY B.... I agree that jesus never said anything about gays. The reason is there never was a "jesus". A fictional character is a screw-up book for screw-up people.

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