LGBT Life in Ghana – Freedom or Suppression?

The oppression and discrimination among the LGBT people have been there for centuries and even though it is legalized in many countries with others following swiftly, it is still not enough. Ghana is one of the countries where same-sex marriages are still illegal and so naturally the LGBT life in Ghana mostly comprises of violence and discrimination. Denmark was the first country that officially recognized the union of same-sex couples and that was in 1989. But as of 2021, only 29 countries out of 195 have legalized the union of same-sex marriages. So, what happened between 1989 to 2021? Did the world stop? Well, the world didn’t stop but people are well, people. Many people including various groups have protested against LGBT people for years. Christianity or most other religions, for example, consider same-sex marriages as a sin against God and so naturally their psychological ideals don’t allow them to accept the LGBT community as a normal human being and that is a shame.
Religion shouldn’t have anything to do with the LGBT community. One’s sexual orientation can be anything and choosing a partner of same-sex is in no way a sin. While Denmark was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, others kept rejecting every bill, every legislature that gets submitted. It wasn’t until the 2010s when countries really started taking this seriously and other countries started doing the same. Even a developed country such as the USA couldn’t legalize the LGBT community until it was 2015 due to strong resentment from various church and religious groups who protested outside every hearing. With the USA finally legalizing the LGBT community, many other big countries also did the same including Germany, India, among others. While it’s one thing accepting it legally, social acceptance and pressure are a whole different thing. Ghana still hasn’t legalized the LGBT community and the violence against LGBT couples continues today. They are either shamed, chased, or beaten by the public and they can’t even raise a complaint against such physical and mental abuse as it’s illegal.
Social acceptance is the most important thing. Being a human, we live in a society and if the same society refuses to recognize the LGBT couple as human, then violence is bound to happen. Even if it is illegal in Ghana, the people of Ghana have no right to commit violence against an LGBT couple. They at least deserve basic human rights and abusing them just for their sexual orientation is absolutely inhuman. Even in the USA, where same-sex marriage and relationships are legalized,they still face discrimination and are being shamed by some people particularly by those who deeply belong to church groups. These churches even have conversion programs that they claim can change one’s sexual orientation back to ‘normal’ and ‘normal’ being attracted towards the opposite sex. Parents are still sending their kids to these groups and that’s the reason why such groups still exist. They even donate large sums of money so that these churches can continue to maintain such programs. This goes to show the level of importance, social acceptance plays in societies.
According to Ghana’s section 104 (1) (2) documents, it clearly describes ‘unnatural carnal knowledge’ as criminally offensive but things have improved in recent years. Unlike its neighbors, Ghana hasn’t specifically enforced this law. It is being reported that the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and even the Ghana Police Force have reached to various LGBT community and couples in order to provide proper knowledge and training support to ensure the protection and integrity of their basic human rights. But even with their support, it’s not enough unless the government legalizes it and people start to accept the LGBT community and couples as one of their own. Unless and until this happens, violence against such couples will continue.
As per the report of an interview conducted in Ghana sometime in the year 2017, around 114 people live in Ghana who would identify themselves as LGBT. The report also documented various instances where such couples have been attacked by mobs, religious groups, and even members of their own families. For example, in the year 2015, Safety Empire, a vigilante group brutally attacked a young man simply because they ‘suspected’ he was a gay person. That is the horror LGBT communities are living through. To make matters worse, the only LGBT office in Accra, Ghana is being shut down by the government as per the request of the Executive Secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Rights.

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