Featured Post: Extensive Interview with Alex Kofi Donkor — Director, LGBT+ Rights Ghana & Programs Manager, Priorities On Rights And Sexual Health

November 15, 2019
lgbtrightsghana

Brought to you from Medium | 14 November 2019 | Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Image Credit: Alex Kofi Donkor.

Alex Kofi Donkor is the Director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana & Programs Manager of Priorities on Rights and Sexual Health. Here we talk about his life, work, and views.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did you grow up?

Alex Kofi Donkor: I grew up in a church background. I grew up from a family that was into the church, as in my mom, my grandma, my siblings, almost all of them go to church. Growing up, I had to go to the Church of course.

I happened to be the last born. I had no other excuse than to go to church. Going to church, it was such that I began to have battles between how I feel and then what the Bible says. On the one hand, the Bible is condemning homosexuality, as in a man having sex with a man.

On the other hand, I am also experiencing sexual attraction towards guys. This is me, at a younger age. I was very much confused. I had a bit of effeminate behaviour as a younger person. And some people used to call me names. They would use a word like “Kojo besia” in the local language meaning “guy who behaves like a girl.”

Being called that, to me, I found it a bit upsetting. It was sad and worrying for me. Because I feel if you are being associated with the word for being a guy who behaves like a girl, It automatically implies that you are gay.

Because I am also coming from a church background and did not want to accept the fact that I am gay, I also did not want to be associated with the word “Kojo besia”. Yes, so, I was being called the name, not every day, but occasionally.

Sometimes I will hear somebody tell me, “Why do you talk like a girl? Why do you twirl your hands like a girl? Why are you rolling your eyes like a girl? Why are you doing things like a girl?” All this while, I never really explored or understood my feelings and my mannerisms.

In a battle with prays and from a church background, I am told, ‘Whatever you do, just pray, God will help you.’ I kept praying, praying, praying, and praying. All the way through secondary school yet I was still being referred to as a guy who behaves like a girl.

It was a bit hurtful. This was me, I have not had sex. At some point in secondary school, I was asked, “Why do you behave like a girl? Are you gay?” I was worried still as a church boy. By calling me gay, it was like saying that I would be going to hell or something [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: I was still battling it. I was trying my best to not roll my hands, or roll my eyes, or give some gesture that would reveal me as effeminate. Even in my voice, I do not know [Laughing]. There were some things I would not do again. At home, I love to cook, I love to sing, But because I also felt like those kinds of experiences will lead people up to calling me this word or saying, “You’re gay,” or something, I tried to give up on all those exposures to cooking and singing. I am like, “No, I am not going to do this anymore. I am not going to cook anymore.”

Through to the university, in my first year was when one of my lectures on the research said if you do not understand something, then you go and search about it.

There are people who have done research on topics, all you need to do is look for the problem or identify the problem, then look for work that others have done on it; and then you can build on the research.

So he asked us this question, “What is the problem that we’re going through or facing, or have identified?” How do we want to go about it? If you identify the problem, then go and find out about it on the internet.

Look at what others have done on those topics; you can also build on it. When he said that, one of the first things that came to mind was sexuality. The word “gay,” I have not come face to face with the word, I have not used the word on any level, I have not written this anywhere. I have not searched for this anywhere. Although, I have no idea what being gay is about; I have an idea as a guy having sex with another guy. Apart from that, everything else was a no-no.

Also, because I was coming from a church background, I didn’t want to know anything about it. But this is me, I have access to the internet and the first thing I hit: “gay” on google and hit search. Now, I read the literature, the books, the documentaries, the movies that were suggested.

One of the first suggested movies was Brokeback Mountain. There were documentaries and literature. I began to go through one-by-one. I began to read the literature that I had access to through the Google search. I went no YouTube. I began to go through some of the recommended videos too.

This was in 2011. I was 21 by then. I liked one particular video where the guy was talking about his journey as a gay person. Almost everything that he said or was saying was something that I could relate to.

I felt I could relate to the story. He was from a church background. He talked about how he tried to suppress it, and to let it go, how it did not work, and how he came to the point of accepting who he is now.

One of the key things from the videos and the documentaries was that homosexuality is another sexual orientation. It is not going to go away. It is a sexual feeling, which will stay. If you are gay, be yourself and live your life, or deny yourself and go the way of society and try to appeal the way of society for the rest of your life, it is always an individual decision but the tendencies will never go away.

This is me. From then on, I began to read more about it. Now, there are more videos, more movies suggested. I was downloading all these movies and videos. I downloaded lots of movies. I was reading. I was watching movies.

I thought, “This is amazing.” At that time, I began to face reality. I began to work gradually towards accepting myself. But, I was still holding church positions. And gradually I began to move away from church because I felt like I do not want to contradict my sexuality and religion.

Religion is saying this. I am also standing here. I also do not want to be between someone and their god. I was in a leadership position. I did not want my sexuality to cause someone to not worship God, which was my thinking at that time.

When someone finds out about my sexuality, it is going to be so much of a shock to the person, who will think, “Wow — this is a man doing all this cool stuff in church. He is gay. The man is gay.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: It is going to be so much of a shock to the person. I felt like there would be rejection and judgment, and ill-treatment coming from the church. I also felt scared about it. Gradually, I began to let go of certain positions. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even go to church [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: I would just shut off my phone and go somewhere.

“Now, I know what ‘gay’ is about. It is a sexual orientation. I know some people are born gay and nothing can be done about it.”

I thought, “How am I going to help others who fall within my space? The challenges, I am going through with my sexuality growing up, I needed to help others who fall within this experience. To know who they are and how they feel, and how they are not alone; other people are going through the same challenges, especially here in Ghana. I feel there is a need.

On the internet, I tried to search for organizations or institutions but could not find any organization that was really looking at providing support for people who identify as LGBT. I felt that if there is not anything like that, as I was interested in development and education.

I felt, “The course I am studying has to do with human development and societal development in the community. If there is not anything like this there, then there is a need to create an avenue or a platform for people who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, and lesbian.

A way for them to gain access to knowledge of themselves, a basic understanding of who they are. I felt like, maybe, others would not have the privilege of researching and finding out about their orientation and finding out how they feel.

If others would not get that opportunity, if somebody can have the advantage, then we can get the information to them. I begin to think about ways to help. I learnt about my sexuality on my own but I felt that there is no need for others without going through the struggles that I have gone through.

In 2011, coming down, I began to explore my sexual life. In 2011, I was 21. It was the first time that I had sex with someone. After having done all my research, I found out this is what it is [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: I met people through social media and Facebook at the time. There were suggestions from other Facebook friends about other gays parties and anytime I came back from school I will go to this fest with a whole bunch of guys and a bunch behaving very friendly.

Like, oh my god, this is the first time I can see people who I can identify with and who I can understand in such numbers. They are just being themselves. Around the same time, even though, I knew my sexuality. I did not want to expose myself that much. I was so much still into the church stuff. I just looked at them doing their own thing. I was very fascinated by the whole thing.

To me, it was around the same time. I met someone there. We became friends. He was an extrovert type. He liked to party, go here and there. I would be at home. He would text me, “Hey! What are you doing today? Let us go here, let us go there.”

I would follow him to wherever we were going. That is how I began to understand how big the community was. I felt a part of the community. That is how I began to know the community, gradually, and how it is like, especially here in Accra.

There were a lot of people, like me. So, gradually, I begin to pull out of the church. In 2017, I finally decided, “I am not going to suffer this church again,” especially so much toxic rhetoric that is discriminatory and subjects others to disrepute, violence, and abuse.

I was like, “I want to understand who I am and the course that I want to take in life.” There are so many injustices going on. There is a need to talk about such issues, and let people know about such injustices and abuses that others are going through.

Around the same time, I identified as a humanist and then as an activist (LGBT activist), and a human rights advocate. So, I then began to work towards this identification and how best I can help through those identities created by me.

Then again, one of the reasons for pulling out of the church. I went through some of the conversations and teachings, and preachings, in the church. It was lacking in terms of basic logic and basic critical thinking. It did not make much sense.

Something that does not make much sense to me. Why should I still involve myself in it? [Laughing] I pulled out, finally, from a church in 2017. That has been me, i.e., my gay life to me being here.

Jacobsen: How were friends and family reacting to coming out?

Donkor: When I identified as a gay person, or I knew I was a gay person. I was also thinking about how my family was going to react if they should find out about me being gay or even how someone outside will react if they find out if I am gay.

Just when I was doing all the research about gay, LGBT, all of that, I wanted to know what my defence mechanism was. How will I react? If I am having sex, and then someone sees me. How will I react? If I am walking in town and someone calls me gay, how will I react?

I am thinking about how people will react and how I will approach when I am being called gay in public. I am thinking through all of that. In 2016, I had a friend come over to my house. I was staying with my family at the time.

We do all the fun stuff. The talking, the screaming, we were being ourselves with all of that. It has been all guys, guys, guys coming to the house. I thought, “One day, I am going to be questioned, ‘Hey! Where are the girls?’” [Laughing]

In 2016, a friend of mine came over. He slept over. He is usually someone who comes and sleeps over. It has not usually been an issue, except in 2016. At the time, I went jogging. My friend told me. My brother came into the room (I have 5 siblings, 5 brothers, as I am the last one.).

He said, “Oh! That’s abominable stuff that you guys have been doing in this room” (in the local dialect). Then he left the room. I was like, “Were you watching porn or something?” He was like, “No! I was watching this movie.”

I thought, “Why would you come into this room and say that stuff?” I was in the house when he came back from work. When he came back from work, I approached him. I was like, “What do you mean by ‘that abominable stuff that you have been doing in this room’?”

My friend is a platonic friend. We do chit-chatting. We do not do anything sexual. It does not mean anything to say such stuff. I was wondering. I asked my brother. He got angry, “That gay stuff that you guys have been doing in this house.”

It dawned on me. Within a split second, “This boy is coming forward. It is either I deny or say it is not true or simply accept this and move on.” This gay stuff, “You didn’t know all this time. Yes, I am gay. What’s your fucking problem?” was my response to him.

“You are going to go to hell and all of that.” I said, “Look, I am gay. What is your problem now?” He did not seem to have any explanation as to why he was coming for me. I said, “If you think calling me gay is an insult, or that I am supposed to run and hide, then you are the most stupid person who I have ever seen because I have been gay since the day that I was born. I am still going to remain gay. That is my life. It is not yours. I am not asking you to be gay.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: Yes! “You live your life. Let me live mine.” I called my other brothers on the phone and told them what their brother has done. I began to scream, “Yes, I am gay!” Even people from outside the house had to come that day, they called me, “Kofi? What is going on?” I said, “I am gay. Haven’t you heard?”

I called my other brothers who were not at home and told them all of that. I am gay. It is not his problem. “This is the last time he will talk about me, or my issues, or my gayness.” He told me about this some time ago. “I wanted to come and approach you. I let it go.” One brother said.

Another brother of mine, ‘If you are gay, what is his problem?” I said, “You should call him. I don’t want the nonsense.” Especially if I am gay, live your life, let me live mine, my mom and dad died at the time.

So, just let it go, my mom brought me into this world. Since then, we have been talking. I think several family members know that I am gay. Those who do not know. I am sure; it is on social media.

On social media, I am quite loud on it. Many of my pictures are rainbow. I am very active on social media. I am active on LGBT issues on social media. At the time, I was active on Facebook. I added all the church people and the school people on Facebook too.

They are still friends on Facebook. When I talked about LGBT issues, they asked, “Are you gay?” Others came into the inbox and asked questions. I began to take others through the process. Others were not ready to take part in the process.

I said, “Okay, I am not going to force you.” I am unapologetic about my sexuality. In terms of acceptance and how people react, I love myself. I love my life.

That is what matters. It is yours, deal with yours. It is mine; I will deal with mine. It is as simple that. If you love me, I will love you. If you hate me, what can I do? [Laughing]

Jacobsen: What about in the public and the law? How is the treatment there?

Donkor: In Ghana, there is no explicit gay law, LGBT law. No law that criminalizes being gay. The law that is usually used as a gay club or one that is used to subject gay people to abuse. Section 104 of the Criminal Code talks about the “unnatural carnal knowledge” and “having any other sex” or “having penetrating sex aiming at anything other than a vagina.”

So, if you have non-penetrative sex — oral sex or anal sex, it is deemed as a criminal offence. This is explicitly applied to every person as far as you have sex, not inside a single vagina; it is a criminal offence in the law.

You would say this is discriminatory towards gay men. Because when it comes to lesbians, it does not apply to them. They do not have penetrative stuff applied to them. Also, in a country where a lot more people know a lot about religion and less about the law, when people are dealing with you and talking to you, they are talking to or dealing with, or relating to you based on what the Bible said.

It is what a pastor or an Imam, or a religious text, has said. If we go based on what the Constitution says, no one should be beaten for being homosexual. Clearly, the Constitution does not say anything about being gay or being a lesbian.

It says that everyone, whatever colour, creed, or religion, has the right to life, dignity, and respect and expression; all of that. Why the mistreatment of people because they are gay or identify as a bisexual and a lesbian?

The religious mind of the population that is really causing much harm to the LGBT community.

Jacobsen: What are practical examples of harm?

Donkor: For instance, when a gay issue comes out in public, I think one of the first things that you will see is the condemnation from the Christian side. Everyone is looking at this from the negative examples or the negative stuff.

There have been examples of people being beaten for being gay. I have had to deal with some of the issues myself. Sometimes, I must go to the hospital with some of the victims of the beatings.

I have had to go to the police station to report some of the cases because some of the gay people, from my community, do not know what the law says. They feel the police will discriminate against them.

So even when they get beaten, they are unable to report the issue to the police. You have other community members who can report cases to the police because the victims may feel the police will blame them. The victims are reluctant to report the abuse to the police.

I have had to report some of the cases to the police for others. You can experience the discrimination firsthand. The police person thinks, “Oh, you’re just gay people.” These are the same Ghanaians (the police) who are church people.

They are looking at the issue as an emotionally charged issue. They become very reactive. You, sometimes, go to the police station with a victim and report an abuse issue. Because it is a gay issue. The whole issue turns around. The police blame the victim (the gay person) for whatever crime that they report.

Sometimes, it is mind-boggling. Someone is beaten. Someone’s stuff has been stolen. Because they are a victim, but gay, the gay person is the one being punished now. This is some of the stuff that discourages the community from reporting or seeking justice for the abuses.

There are quite a number of cases. Mostly, it has to do with black males, social media, and so on. Most of the reportage has been real, as reported to me. Some of the most homophobic guys find themselves lured into homes or the ghettoes.

They are robbed. Sometimes, they are stripped naked. They ask them to confess that they are gays. All of that. Sometimes, now, they demand money from them when they go home. If they do not give the money, they send all the naked videos to the contacts on social media and on WhatsApp. They post the videos.

Jacobsen: What is the motivation for homophobic bigots to do this?

Donkor: I think one of them comes from the idea that being gay is a sin or being gay is an abomination. Another has to do with the fact that Section 104 of the Criminal Code talks about the “unnatural carnal knowledge” and the public has no idea.

All they know is gays are an abomination. It is a sin. They must do something to eradicate them or do something to them, to kill them. It feels as if it is coming from a place of ignorance or hate.

Jacobsen: Who are wonderful human rights campaigners fighting for equality on the other side of the aisle?

Donkor: We have LGBT persons who are fighting for the LGBT cause here. You have individual LGBT persons who are helping. There are also some organizations that are helping in championing the LGBT cause here in Ghana.

So, Priorities on Rights and Sexual Health, CPEHRG, Hope Alliance Foundation, Solace Initiative, One Heart Foundation, and so on, these are all organizations helping in their own small way towards getting some help to the LGBT community and championing the LGBT fight.

Of course, we also have the movement here, which is the LGBT+ Rights Ghana. I am currently the Director of LGBT Rights Ghana. We are fighting for LGBT freedom here in Ghana. I should mention that we have amazing allies like the Humanist Association of Ghana. I know you know Roslyn.

They are doing amazing work here. At some point, where even LGBT persons were not even speaking to the issues in the media, when there is so much bashing on the TV, you have the humanist members going to the media and speaking for the LGBT community.

It is amazing. These are going through the suffering and able to stand the pressure from the community and homophobia from the community. You have the Humanist Association of Ghana doing amazing work.

There is Drama Queens. They are a drama-based organization who are highlighting LGBT issues. There is a Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). It is also doing an amazing job.

There are individuals, police personnel; they are amazing. They are fighting and helping us fight the abuses, and some of the violence that goes on. These are the groups here that are fighting and championing the cause here in Ghana.

Jacobsen: Any books?

Donkor: Yes! There is this book called No Choice But to Deny Who I Am. It is HRW or Human Rights Watch. It is the report that they did on Ghana. It highlights some of the issue’s LGBT folks face in Ghana.

Then there is also the Ghana Country Club text on the health and rights of LGBT persons. It is another report that highlights LGBT issues in Ghana. There is also this policy briefing from the Solace Initiative. They are an NGO helping to fight the LGBT cause.

I do not know how to get these books to you. I will see if I can find copies and then forward them via email to you.

Jacobsen: Thank you. Who has been an important humanist or secularist LGBT activist who is no longer with us? Someone from Ghana.

Donkor: I got to know a humanist from 2018. Those who I know are working and championing the LGBT cause are live ones, not the dead ones [Laughing]!

Jacobsen: [Laughing] that is encouraging!

Donkor: I do know some who have been fighting the fight, but who have died and gone. One person was named Sadiq. He was the Executive Director of Solace Initiative.

Jacobsen: When it comes to religion, it can be a force for good. It can be a force for bad. I say this within the context of the LBGTI community. In Ghana, when is this a force for good? When is it a force for bad? I speak of religion.

Donkor: In our 2010 census, for instance, it estimated that 95% of Ghanaians are religious. 72% are Christians. The rest are the other religions. Clearly, religion has much control over decisions here in Ghana. Religion oversees a lot of decisions here in Ghana.

Let me add, most LGBT persons are religious in Ghana. We are here with most people as religious [Laughing]. So, most LGBT are religious. You must work until you find your way out. Many times, you do not find your way out.

When issues of the LGBT community and religion come out, it is very heated. Sometimes, you have so many opinions, very strong opinions, coming here and then. All of that. Religion can be a force for good.

That is, if we begin to focus or highlight the very essence of religion, what it seeks to promote, most of the conversations that you do have: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are about peace and love.

If it is about peace and love, why do we experience all the negatives? The opposites of peace and love. We are in a country of religion. Now, personally, I do not think, when it comes to LGBT issues, that they are more hostile to LGBT persons than to non-LGBT persons.

Most of the comments and most of the stigmas that they bring out are in the negative. I think it is more to the negative than to the positive. If it is influencing homophobia and abuse, then it is bringing us down.

Jacobsen: Has there been a particularly salty reaction or controversial reaction online in Ghana with regards to a religious leader and an activist for the LGBTI+ community?

Donkor: There have been some. Roslyn, for instance, last year, she was at one of the stations. On the same day, there were also the religious guys around. I think some pastors. They had this interaction.

They seek to condemn homosexuality and gays and all LGBT. Then they associate so many negative stuff to being LGBT. At some point, you have this religious person associating to the LGBT community trying to emphasize that the LGBT persons are suffering from this disease and that disease.

When it comes to social media, most of the religious guys are there. Most of the time the LGBT people are there. When you side with the LGBT community, they attack the person. I, for one, have experienced all this stuff. You must go through such an approach on social media.

Jacobsen: How does a humanistic framework of ethics provide a more reasonable and evidence-based place for the LGBT community in Ghana?

Donkor: Humanism is, basically, looking at the very basis of humans with rights, dignity, respect, and wellbeing, as well as critical thinking and analysis of everything that one is exposed to.

The idea of them looking at issues from the other side of religion is amazing because most of the time; we do not get the opportunity of having to analyze things from a unique perspective. A perspective of non-religion.

If a person is coming to ask you to look at issues critically and to look at things from the human rights perspective, it is an amazing way to get people to debunk some of the notions from religions and its sentiments.

I think the Humanist Association of Ghana is doing some amazing work. If you have religious ideas on rights, can you look at things from this angle? It is having the two and then comparing the two.

It is something that allows people to critically think through issues, the idea of thinking is an amazing thing. It is causing minds to change for the better.

Jacobsen: How are the politicians’ images on the LGBTI+ issue?

Donkor: Yes, the politicians, we have had the presidents. During John Atta Mills’s time, on LGBT issues, he said, ‘We are not going to accept any LGBT life in Ghana and no gay marriage.’ All of that. You find such comments sad and unfortunate because nobody is talking about marriage.

When we are talking the human rights that are being denied LGBT persons, the abuses LGBT persons are going through. If a country like the UK tells you to talk about and do something about the LGBT issues, it does not cause people to come out and say, “Our culture does not accept gay people.”

African culture has never subjected gay people to abuse or stigma. In the past, it has been very accepting and very diverse. What is causing divide, is religion. Religion is saying, “This is not good. This is an abomination.”

When we hear some of the politicians talking about all this rhetoric, you know that it is clearly influenced by religion or religious background. All of that. Then coming down, you have John Mahama, who became president from 2012 to 2016. During his time, you hardly heard about LGBT issues.

He did not say anything about LGBT issues. He never said anything. In fact, at some point, in this country, people were associating him with an LGBT person who helped him launch his book. They were associating him to that person. They said, “That is his gay person.”

He did not care. Then in 2017 When you talk Akufo Addo, about his early times when he became president, he was asked in this interview with Al Jazeera with the LGBT issues in Ghana. He said, “Acceptance of LGBT is bound to happen. Now, it is not a conversation that is on the table in Ghana. We are not having the conversation at all, but the conversation will come when the community is strong enough to cause or demand the change. When the community is strong enough to cause or demand the change, then the change will come.”

Once he made those comments, it was a huge conversation in Ghana!

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: People keep asking about marriage and gay marriage and looking at this from the marriage perspective. Who is talking about marriage? Even if it is gay marriage, it is two consenting adults. Think about it. How does it even affect you?

The current Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye, appointed by President Nana Akufo-Addo. He is homophobic. You can clearly say it. You can see so many of the homophobic comments made as a Speaker of Parliament. He has made so many and gotten away with it.

Any opportunity he gets; he is always going to talk about LGBT stuff. His obsession with gay life is overwhelming. What is his problem? The Speaker of Parliament is a homophobic person. Apart from him, there is also the coalition for proper human sexual rights and family values organization.

They are also an anti-LGBT organization; they are always fighting the LGBT community. Moses Foh Amoanen, He is the leader of the organization. He is the first person to fight LGBT issues. He is the first person called on radio and TV for anti-gay issues. Roslyn (Mould) and he had an interaction on radio one time.

He is among the homophobic persons. He is a lawyer. He is also an albino. Of course, someone who is a minority as an albino. It is like confusing for an equal minority person to come for other minority people. If anything at all, you should understand how it is or how it feels to be in a minority.

Unfortunately, it is a minority person who comes after the LGBT community. It is sad. Because he is in Ghana. He always gets the radio and the TV chances to talk about anti-gay issues. There are times when he has called for fasting and prayers against gay people.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: An all-night service for gay people. He even said he has created a conversion therapy for gay people.

Jacobsen: That is a motivated person.

Donkor: Yes, he said about 400 gay persons signed up to the conversion [Laughing]. I was like, “Dude, come on, that’s a lie.” Even as organizations for the LGBT community, to get LGBT people to get out to events, it is difficult.

400 people for conversion. If there are 400 people coming to you for conversion, it should tell you about the community and the repression. I am skeptical. However, if it is true, I do not know people who have dared for that conversion.

So, in terms of politicians, it has been the situation. Speaking of Parliament, at some point, one said that if any gay stuff comes to the Parliament; the Speaker of the Parliament said he would resign. I was like, “Oh my god, just resign already.” Just go!

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: Someone should bring this to the Parliament and let this man get out of there [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Donkor: You were not even voted for. If you come and stand for a presidential race or something, no one will vote for you. You are there because the president appointed you. You were not voted in there.

If you make it seem like you are the only person, it is simply ridiculous, just leave. You are just there. You are promoting discrimination against other citizens in the country who happen to be gays, bisexuals, lesbians, and transgenders. You do not need to use your influence as a public person to harm average citizens.

It is what he is doing. Someone should bring the issue there and then just get this guy out of there. Of course, he is still there as the Speaker of Parliament.

Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?

Donkor: It is the thing that keeps me pushing to do the work as an activist. There is a time when LGBT issues come up. We have no one to speak up about the issues. I think it is time that we talk about the issues and begin to highlight the issues on all platforms.

One thing that really scares me is silence. Silence scares me a lot, especially on issues where everyone is quiet about it. We all speak from our common places. The simple places where we highlight human rights and LGBT issues.

I think, in a way, it helps to demystify the ideas and notions that people have about LGBT persons. So, the conversation needs to go on. I am happy that the conversation is going on, gradually. I am hoping that in the very near future that the view will be out there in the public.

Such that, we get to talk about the issue devoid of sentiments and emotions and gradually will get there. There are other countries repealing discriminatory laws and beginning to work towards repealing those laws and making the place a safer country for the Ghanaians however you identify, living free and equal as every other person. That’s my mission.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Alex.

Donkor: Sure, you’re welcome.

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