LGBTQ

Ghana’s parliament unanimously votes to criminalize LGBTQ+ identities & allyship

Ghana’s parliament unanimously votes to criminalize LGBTQ+ identities & allyship

ACCRA,GHANA: The President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo during an interview with Russian television, May 2, 2018 Photo: Truba7113 / Shutterstock.com

Ghana’s Parliament has unanimously approved a bill that would worsen criminal penalties for homosexuality and persecute LGBTQ+ people and their allies. The bill now heads to Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo — if he signs it, it will become law.

The bill would increase the pre-existing penalties for homosexuality from three years in prison to five. It would also make it a crime to identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ally, and punish anyone who provides support, advocacy, or funding for LGBTQ+ people’s rights.

Legislators drafted the bill in response to Ghana’s first LGBTQ+ advocacy resource center opening in the capital city of Accra in January 2021, according to the legal news website Jurist. The bill says the center’s opening was “greeted with a plethora of criticism from a cross section of Ghanaians” and later closed after public protests.

“We are outraged to hear about the Ghanaian Parliament’s passage of the so-called ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Act’ — a cruel bill that violates the fundamental rights of LGBTQI+ people and allies throughout Ghana,” Human Rights Campaign Vice President of Government Affairs David Stacy wrote in a statement. “Every single lawmaker who voted to pass this bill is wrongly using their power to strip away the basic humanity of the people they are supposed to represent.”

Lamenting the passage of the bill, British-Ghanaian artist and photographer Campbell Addy, a 2021 honoree of Forbes‘ “30 Under 30” list of young achievers, wrote in a poem via X.

“today ghana passed the bill making my existence as part of the LGBTQIA+ ‘illegal,’” he wrote. “Today we moved a step backwards … Without Ghana I wouldn’t exist, but in spite of certain Ghanians I will continue to exist.”

“Am I paining you by existing,” he continued. “Because I and my kin yearn to live free / We embody freedom everything we choose to just simply exists / And this pains you because you too wish to be free … But Feb 28 will be the day Ghana has shown its LACK of potential / This is a human rights issue / LGBTQIA+ for now. / but who’s next?”

British colonials criminalized same-sex sexual activity in Ghana in the 1860s. While modern-day politicians in Ghana claim that queer identities are alien to the country and were imported in the modern age by white Westerners, this is untrue.

Anthropologist James Christenson found that same-sex sexual encounters have regularly occurred in Ghana since as early as the 1950s, and studies show evidence of formalized same-sex relationships occurring in the region during times of tribal reign, according to The Dictionary of Homophobia, a 2008 text on international gay history.

“[Homosexuality in Ghana] is practically happening everywhere, particularly where people gather for celebrations and merry-making in urban areas, along with other places most people would never suspect,” Ghanaian cultural researcher Dela Attipoe also found in 2004.

Originally Published Here.

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