Idris Elba And Naomi Campbell Sign Letter Supporting Ghanaian LGBTQ+ Community, As President Nana Akufo-Addo Rules Out Legalization Of Gay Rights

Idris Elba And Naomi Campbell Sign Letter Supporting Ghanaian LGBTQ+ Community, As President Nana Akufo-Addo Rules Out Legalization Of Gay Rights

Some of the UK’s most prominent people of Ghanaian heritage have come together to condemn their former homeland for its stance on gay rights in what will be seen as an extraordinary show of diaspora power.

The influential names in fashion, film and media, including actors Idris Elba and Boris Kodjoe, and the Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, have signed an open letter in support of Ghana’s LGBTQ+ community. Naomi Campbell, although, not of Ghanaian heritage, has also put her name to the letter.

Last week, a community centre for LGBTQ+ people in Ghana closed its doors after mounting pressure by religious groups and anti-gay organisations against sexual minorities. Police later reportedly raided the centre, after its leaders were forced into hiding.

The letter, signed by 67 celebrities, politicians and other influential people largely of Ghanaian heritage, said they were deeply disturbed by the events and called on Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, and other political leaders to offer protection to the LGBTQ+ community.

“We have watched with profound concern as you have had to question the safety of your vital work at the LGBT+ Rights Ghana Centre in Accra, and feared for your personal wellbeing and security. It is unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe,” the letter said. “As prominent and powerful advocates for this great country, we are beseeching His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and political/cultural leaders to create a pathway for allyship, protection and support. We petition for inclusivity which will make the nation even greater and even stronger.”

Several high-profile figures in Ghana had demanded the closure of the centre, which was intended to be a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to meet and find support. Yet since the centre’s opening in January in Accra, many people have received death threats and online abuse.

The opening of the centre amplified discrimination against the community, said activists. Although same-sex relationships are illegal in Ghana, the law is rarely enforced, according to a 2018 report by Human Rights Watch. Yet activists say abuse against LGBTQ+ Ghanaians has intensified in recent years, fuelled by influential anti-gay campaigners, namely the executive secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, Moses Foh-Amoaning.

The community centre was set up by LGBT+ Rights Ghana. A fundraising event to mark the opening was attended by the Danish ambassador, the Australian high commissioner and EU delegates, which caused outrage and prompted repeated claims that the international community was promoting LGBTQ+ rights in Africa.

Earlier this month, the Catholic church in Ghana bishops’ conference released a statement demanding the centre be shut down and condemned “all those who support the practice of homosexuality in Ghana”. It urged the government “never to be cowed down or to succumb to the pressure to legalise the rights of LGBTQIs in Ghana”.

And the government, it seemed, finally responded, as President Nana Akufo-Addo broke his silence on the matter, assuring congregants at St. Michael and All Angels Cathedral on February 27 that homosexuality will not be legalized under his government, an announcement that was received with enthusiasm and applause.

Akufo-Addo was speaking in the church in commemoration of the installation of the Second Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Ghana at Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region, when he addressed his position on the controversy that has been trending for days.

“I have said it before, and let me stress it again, that it will not be under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo that same-sex marriage will be legal,” he said, repeating over and over again for emphasis. “It will not happen! It will not happen! It will not happen!”

This is a marked about-turn from Akufo-Addo’s expressed opinion in 2017 when he said during an interview with Al-Jazeera that should activism in favour of the legalization of homosexuality heighten, it could trigger a change in Ghana’s laws, adding that he feels that such a push was “bound to happen” and possibly pave the way for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

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  1. Mandy
    March 02, 07:58 Reply

    I just can’t get over the fact that religion has so much influence on state in African countries. Imagine this president choosing a church service to make a statement about the rights of his people, some of who may very well be irreligious. Its disheartening.

    And kudos to these international celebrities of Ghanaian heritage speaking up. Dear God, someday, may this so-called Western influence actually cause to happen what they fear: the recognition and legalisation of our equal rights!

  2. Rudy
    March 03, 08:05 Reply

    Culture, Tradition & Religion can Never justify the denial of Human Rights.

    By & by we shall get there.

  3. Dunder
    March 04, 10:40 Reply

    “Yet since the centre’s opening in January in Accra, many people have received death threats and online abuse.”- did our centre- saviours not expect this? How many LGBT people, just minding their business, paying their bills and managing their lives did they budget as collateral damage for their soiree spot?

    Now the people who started the fire have started to download the visa documents and start the assylum process. Others have sent their suits in for drycleaning and are ready for those interviews and fatter cheques (to finance protection). Of course, the fake centre, that could never be a safe spot, has been closed and raided by the same government that hardly disturbs gay people despite the laws on the books. The real NGOs prepared to stay in Ghana and so serious work are now targets of urchins and societal nuisances also known as politicians and pastors. Honestly, how can we be this unwise in the community? If we don’t call out these drama queens who just want to destroy their own community and make life harder still, how would we survive so many self inflicted wounds?

    The idiots that planned this gay party as far as I am concerned are a terror to the community and sadistic narcissists. Ghana is not known for throwing gay men off of buildings. The country has the same shackles that Caucasian colonialists left behind but somehow, they are not acting on those impulses. The same approach would be to lean into such tolerance and build a community and network so wise that it would cost Ghana too much to start policing personal relationships eg the polygamists in Utah, USA. Instead, these akosiberos possessed by a lust for fame and went to murder peace and now, they have the Nigerian-lime response to something that was always known.

    What poll was taken to determine that what the gay community needs in Ghana is an office or hall? What has this fake money-grabbing scheme done for victims of harassment in the community, legally and otherwise? Since they are so bent on a safe space, have they provided one via the internet which is safer and more accessible? No, because it was always about the cameras and doubloons. Godless armed robbers. Shameless peacocks.

    I couldn’t give a hoot what this “diaspora power” is bringing as it is an unfortunate missed opportunity to beg these wicked gay people to stop causing harm to their own. Akufo-Addo, the bishops and every other person riding this wave was well aware of the gay community in Ghana and disapproved without being disagreeable till this selfish and foolish stunt. Read the initial position of Ghana’s president in earlier interviews. These dementors of goodwill and nonchalance have set the west African community back decades because of this move of wickedness. They are no heroes. This is not what MLK did and you can see from history that Malcolm X’s approach would never have worked because it was too sentimental and stupid. These jokers are simply terrorists. When gays on the ground start getting boots on their necks, all you are going to get from “diaspora power” is “say her name” and more letters from their own actual SAFE SPACE, that would never help anyone.

    I yield my time to Mr. Let the world burn who also is hiding his identity on an online blog.

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