Ghana’s LGBT People Live in Fear and Isolation

Homosexuality remains illegal in Ghana as is the case in several other African countries.

LGBT persons in Ghana are living in constant fear of being attacked in public because of their sexual orientation. Some are now speaking out pushing for their rights to be respected. A recently-opened center for the LGBTQI+ community in Ghana, has been shut down after it was raided by security forces in the West African country. Homosexuality remains illegal in Ghana as is the case in several other African countries. While there have been very few instances of prosecution and imprisonment, members of the LGBT community continue to face targeted harassment, assault and marginalisation.

Ale Kofi Donkor is a Human Rights advocate and an LGBTQI+ activist. He is the founder and current director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a movement of mostly young Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Intersex, Queers and Allies championing a safe, inclusive and free society for LGBT+ persons in Ghana. He said he fears for his safety after its offices were raided and shut down by police and ‘gay sex is illegal in Ghana, meaning any public show of support for LGBT+ rights can be met with violence and persecution.’

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American President Joe Biden directed United States foreign departments and agencies to ‘promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.’ Biden sought to decriminalise LGBTQI+ status overseas in a memo issued on February 4, 2021 where he threatened wide-ranging sanctions against countries where gay rights are suppressed. However, Ghana responded by saying that the country’s laws are supreme, and legislation criminalising gay sexual activities would remain in place.

‘The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour 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. Church groups, politicians and anti-gay rights organisations have called on the government to shut down the centre, run by local charity LGBT+ Rights Ghana, and arrest and prosecute those involved.

Ghana’s minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, said in a video during her confirmation hearing on February 17, 2021 that Ghanaian laws against same-sex relationships are not up for debate when asked her stance on social protection for non-heterosexual people. ‘The issue of LGBT is an issue that when mentioned creates some controversy, but what I want to say is that our laws are clear on such practices. It makes it criminal…to have unnatural carnal knowledge with another person,’ Sarfo said.

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April 2024


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