Anti-Gay Uproar Follows After The Opening Of LGBTQ+ Community Center In Ghana, Establishing The Country’s Widespread Homophobia

Anti-Gay Uproar Follows After The Opening Of LGBTQ+ Community Center In Ghana, Establishing The Country’s Widespread Homophobia

Homophobic outcry has forced what is reported to be Ghana’s first LGBT+ community center to temporarily close to protect its staff and visitors three weeks after it opened.

Church groups, politicians, and anti-gay rights organizations called on the government to shut down the center, run by local charity LGBT+ Rights Ghana, and arrest and prosecute those involved.

“We did not expect such an uproar,” said Alex Kofi Donkor, director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, which hosted the center’s launch on January 31 attended by European and Australian diplomats. “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.”

Even though same-sex relations is punishable with up to three years’ imprisonment in the country, Ghana has not prosecuted anyone for that in years. Even so, LGBT+ people in the country face widespread abuse and discrimination, including blackmail and attacks.

 

The Homophobic Backlash

Following the news of the centre’s launch in January, the outcry came fast and furious. The National Coalition for Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values, which brings together Christian, Muslim, and traditional leaders opposed to LGBT+ rights, was among those that sought to close down the center, along with prominent church groups.

“The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts,” said the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, adding: “We call on the Government of Ghana to close down the LGBTQI office space that was recently opened in Accra (and) urge the Executive and the Legislature never to be cowed down or to succumb to the pressure to legalize the rights of LGBTQIs.”

A member of the ruling New Patriotic Party also called on the public to find the center and shut it down, while a local counsellor has called for the arrest of a popular musician who attended the launch event. Ghana’s minister of information designate also weighed into the debate, proposing legislation against those who advocate for LGBT+ rights.

Donkor said the anti-gay rhetoric was “scary” and he could not risk the safety of people at the center, which offers paralegal services, counselling, and training through workshops, even though its location had not been made public.

He dismissed local media reports that police had shut down the center on the orders of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, adding that he had not received any communication from authorities directing its closure.

Donkor said he was not sure when the center would reopen but the group would continue to battle against homophobia.

“There is nothing illegal about the center. The idea is to create a safe space for the LGBT+ community,” he said. “We will not give up this fight. We cannot give up on our human rights.”

 

Moses Foh-Amoaning’s Dedication To Anti-LGBT+ Rights

The Executive Secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values (NCPHSRFV), a lawyer Moses Foh-Amoaning – who championed the operation of a gay “cure” therapy forum in 2018 – has been dedicated to pushing anti-gay rhetoric for years.

Moses Foh-Amoaning

Weighing in on the uproar surrounding the existence of the LGBT+ community centre in Ghana, the anti-gay rights campaigner said that, “what they [homosexuals] need is help and not to translate it to a human right. It’s not part of our constitution, people were trying to push it but it’s not there. In our customary law, there is no ethnic group that permits this sought of behaviour. Section 4 of our Criminal Offence Act makes unnatural canal knowledge as a criminal offence.”

Following Amoaning’s campaign to get all LGBTQ+ offices in Ghana shut down, he was sacked as a member of the Association of African Albinos.

In a letter dated February 23, 2021 and signed by the president of the association, V.F. Sesom Hofamn, the association highlighted Mr. Amoaning’s violation of human rights, championing hatred as well as aiding in the persecution of a minority group which he finds himself as an albino.

“We have officially denounced and expelled Moses Foh Amoaning from our association with immediate effects for his violation of human rights and championing hate. We write with sincere apologies to the LGBTQI+ community of Ghana and across the continent that we are very sorry to hear and witness the inhuman treatment, hate and violence propagated by a member of highly vulnerable and marginalized community who should have used his privilege to fight for the rest of us but unfortunately persecuting other marginalized groups,” part of the press release reads.

The albino association also believes that Moses Foh-Amoaning should have used the resources and energy he is using to work against LGBTQI+ people in Ghana to fight for the rights of his fellow albinos elsewhere in Africa who are still been persecuted, harassed and murdered for ritual purposes.

“We have been ‘surviving and suffering’ similar violence, intimidations and discriminations across the continent, hoping people like Foh-Amoaning who found peace in Ghana, the nation of freedom and justice will channel his energy, resources and legal knowledge into saving our situation and that of Other marginalized groups but he is instead practicing Vice.”

The association went on to apologize to the LGBTQI+ people in Ghana who have been marginalized by the actions of Foh-Amoaning. “We cannot even express our disappointment in his agenda and how much we empathize with the LGBTQIA+ community in Ghana, because we honestly understand how it feels to be discriminated against and crucified by our own black fellows. We are sending love and strength to all LGBTQIA+ persons to continue this fight until you win.”

 

Ghanaian Journalist Ignatius Annor Comes Out As Gay

EuroNews English reporter, Ignatius Annor, came out with his truth while appearing on JoyNews for its PM Express show via video uplink.

Annor had been brought on to discuss how Ghana was pushing back against the opening of the LGBT+ community centre, and the role NCPHSRFV was playing in the furor.

Ignatius Annor

“This is going to be the very first time that I am using your medium to say that not only am I an activist for the rights of Africa’s sexual minorities, what you will call the LGBT+ community, but I am gay,” he told host Ayisha Ibrahim. “Obviously, I denied it because I was afraid of losing my job, I was working at an incredible television station in Accra and also for the fear of what would happen to me personally.”

To Annor, an LGBT+ safe space is vital “because you are not allowed to openly say who you are” in Ghana.

“What my community is asking for is the opportunity to love like all humanity loves, particularly in the case of Ghana heterosexuals,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like I am a human being who deserves the right to employment, the right to education, and normally the basic rights to be able to walk, drive around to wherever that I want to go to in Ghana as an openly gay man. It doesn’t feel OK, it feels dehumanised and awful.”

Annor hopes that the anti-gay laws in Ghana “could be scrapped” one day so “that people like myself who have life, who work, and contribute to the socio-economic fibre of Republic of Ghana can be accepted as human beings deserving of respect, kindness and dignity”.

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  1. Dunder
    February 25, 11:41 Reply

    With the popularity that has arisen from this, they can transform into a virtual office in case the authorities want to flex some muscle. No one is going to break into their zoom meetings anytime soon.

    I honestly have mixed feelings about these kinds of efforts in Africa. Just a few decades ago, the same brash approach would have resulted in death threats, violence, vandalism and resignation in the same Western countries but this thing called ego…

    Begin with your end and aim in mind. Do you want to be the first gay this or that our do you want a safe space that offers life-saving services for queer folk? Which is more convenient for the average Ghanian- spending money that is hard to come by to travel to a “safe space” that has rainbow flags hanging on the walls or to chat someone up on your official WhatsApp or email and then go from there? Which one is really easier? Compare the numbers of people who visit kitodiaries each day to those who can sneak into TIERS each month (and I do love TIERS and all they have achieved). How many people can take the risk to hang out in this unsafe space to play cards or gist and still have a job or home the next day? For that space to be, it has to be open and accessible right? So why do a public launch in a homophobic country when you could just pay rent and move in?

    Look, none of these NGOs are going to help the gay guy or girl earning N20,000 a month, change his life- and perhaps they shouldn’t. What is going to happen is that the fame and popularity of a few weeks, for these privileged few who automatically have the sure option of assylum, is going to add petrol to the hell that poor sod and his 20k already live in. It is the confirmation to the greedy-urchin-homophobe that the society (that has failed him) is crumbling and he is right to injure the noxious offender and raise some money for his next high in the process.

    Get your fame. Get your interview on Amanpour. Get your retweet from Michelle Obama. Get your invitation to whatever ego-fest award SHOW. Get your badge of saviour but please, don’t kill us in the process.

    The same ambassadors don’t deal with other matters they consider serious the same way. They champion STRATEGY when they are interested in getting results, but when it comes to saving the poor African gay savages and the lower apes that discriminate against them, it’s with a red cape and neon lycra. Do you think these ambassadors would attend a nude party in Saudi Arabia? That’s how seriously they take the safety of the gay people they are trying to save.

    If you, as an African, want to help the community, don’t pretend this peacock move is about service. You’ve rubbed shoulders, you’ve cut tapes and for it you’ll get a few months of pay for little work done- congratulations. When you are done deceiving yourselves, think of taking the legal route to ensure right of free assembly for the community (which means more fame, yay!) or borrow a leaf from other organizations that actually have quotas to meet on how many people they are of service to and how wide their reach is.

    Lest my honest position on our new African Jesus is misconstrued, I completely condemn the acts and threats of violence against this group and their signature space. I agree that like every other group, that have a right to freely associate. I am just begging our lords and saviours to consider the reality of our clime and not fly blind, making us victims of their saving grace. Interestingly, the foreign religions that act as boots on our necks were not spread by force in most parts of Africa but rather, by insidious coaxing. Let that sink in. We are not trying to save the world, just saying that our little pocket of it be less of a flaming hell.

    I am not saying hide or pretend. I am saying to free slaves, you need an underground railroad- not just for the educated suave city dweller but for the Yan daudu selling his body to feed. For PFLAG to swell, you need Broadway, then Will and Grace then (insert fashion show name) then Ellen. To win, you need strategy. What I see above is not strategy but selfishness and coming from a homie, it really does suck. By all means, ready your guillotines and pick up your pitchforks. Na there Una Kuku get power.

  2. Francis
    February 25, 12:47 Reply

    The rage I felt when I saw that albino then immense joy when he was dumped by his people. Arrant nonsense

  3. Rudy
    February 26, 09:18 Reply

    As a Ghanaian myself, these reaction of homophobia isn’t new and must I dare say was expected. The group was testing the waters and this has set the ball rolling for the fight towards justice and freedom of the queer Ghanaian as many Ghanaians don’t even believe in the existence of the LGBT and rather blame the West for the importation of this so-called Menace.

    To the average Ghanaian LGBT issues are the few things if not the only that could exhibit the radical & extremist religious features embedded in them although Ghanaians are typically calm on the outside, that ends when the LGBT community is mentioned which gets them into auto-defence for their various gods and deities.

    You have an albino (a minority) leading the charge repeatedly for LGBT persecution. This is not the first time, it’s been a vicious cycle of insults and persecution although not as rampant before the stench of homophobia has many to taint every fibre of the Ghanaian society due to recent events. To the point where even Prostitutes came out mocking the community, professing to give us “free toto” just for us to rethink and change our sexual attraction.
    A clear case of “when the elephant stumbles and falls every ranking of animals be it mighty or weak make a feast off it’s body, the ant inclusive”.

    Social media has been our saving grace this time to expose these ongoing discrimination.
    The movement has begun and the fight is on, although the office has been closed the real sanctuary exist in our hearts.

    The queer community with the immense assistance of our allies are helping to raise awareness & funds to support the course.
    In the soon to come future they’ll have their own space without renting from homophobic property owners.

    They do understand the intricacies of such movements and how revolution begins.
    This is just the beginning towards the emancipation of the LGBTQ+ Ghanaian.

    In the meantime any messages of goodwill, solidarity & support is welcomed.

    WE MOVE ✊🏾

    • Dunder
      February 27, 19:03 Reply

      “As a Ghanaian myself, these reaction of homophobia isn’t new and must I dare say was EXPECTED. The group was testing the waters and this has set the ball rolling for the fight towards justice and freedom of the queer Ghanaian…”- Our saviours who cannot point to a single thing they have done for the community they claim to want to save, except expose them and further deplete goodwill.

      Yeah, this is the wickedness I mentioned earlier. Fame-hungry Wannabees on a hunt for stolen valour put the lives and livelihoods of fellow community members at risk while planning to jet out once the kitchen heats up, working as a gay consultant specialising in Africa, in some cold climate. This has happened before: how many of the “activists” in Uganda are still there? They weren’t like David Kato. They wanted a party and not results. As a result of this selfish thinking, careers and lives are destroyed, just for your chance at a dingy assylum flat. Even in some interviews, they confess the locals see them as privileged- always rolling with Caucasians and cutting tapes.

      These people are ready to make collateral damage of their fellow gay citizens just for a few seconds on the news.

      This is not about helping the average gay Joe on the street. This is about ego. I ask again, which one of these ambassadors would attend a nude party in Saudi Arabia? Victims keep deceiving themselves. These camera addicts are not fighting for gay rights, they are offering up gay people to the mob for their own selfish ends. Which one of these ambassadors would stand beside a Muslim publicly converting to Judaism in Iran in the name of human rights? Because it’s not about the LGBT person- it’s about being a hero at whatever cost.

      What are you going to gain from a revolution Mr Let The World Burn? Are you willing to give up your life for your gay brother? Of course not. Somewhere in the crevice of your mind, you have made peace with some other victim of Africa dying so that Grindr becomes a safer pool to fish in. You would easily fit into that ambassador-hugging crowd.

      If you are looking for any statements of support, you’ll have to search elsewhere. My condolences and empathy goes only to the people who will pay the price for this photo op: the lady with a bounce, the guy with so called limp wrists, the children who are too innocent to know they should hide. They who will be the embodiment of the invasion Africans have been convinced being same-sex loving is. When they are violated in more ways than you can imagine or have considered, maybe even losing their lives in the process, I sure hope your soirée would have been worth it.

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