OUTLOOK


Thirty-eight (38) of fifty-three (53) African nations criminalize LGBT persons, thereby imposing varying degrees of legislative restrictions on sexual desires and practices, and on the fulfillment of the human rights of individuals. Furthermore, stigmatization has made public health interventions, particularly with respect to HIV prevention and treatment, difficult to implement effectively.

The situation is no better in Ghana. Ghana has a mixed record on its treatment of LGBT persons. It criminalizes “unnatural carnal knowledge” in section 104 (1) (b) of its Criminal Offenses Act, which the authorities interpret as “penile penetration of anything other than a vagina.”

Almost all homophobic countries override ethical and human rights laws when it comes to the subject of homosexuality. Amnesty International reports that homophobia is reaching very high levels in some conservative countries, yet biological, psychological and public health evidence clearly argues that human rights need to come to the fore in any discussion relating to sexuality.

In believing that heterosexuality is the human default, and LGBT persons are willfully undermining it, however, lawmakers treat LGBT citizen not as constituents to be considered, but automatically as threats to the ‘natural’ functioning of communities.

The Situation


Ghana has not taken steps in recent years to stiffen penalties against consensual same-sex conduct or to expressly criminalize sexual relations between women. At least two government agencies, the Ghana Police Service and the the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), have reached out to LGBT people and taken proactive steps, including through providing human rights training workshops to help ensure their protection. Nevertheless, LGBT person are very frequently victims of physical violence and psychological abuse, extortion and discrimination in many different aspect of daily life, because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. A comprehensive study conducted from 2016 to 2017 on the LGBT space in Ghana by Human Rights Watch revealed a rather disturbing atmosphere of push on homophobia. This report documents how dozens of LGBT people have, on numerous occasions, been attacked both by mobs and members of their own families, subjected to sexual assault, intimidation and extortion. The combination of the criminalization of adult consensual same-sex conduct and the profoundly religious and socially conservative Ghanaian context has made it almost difficult for victims to report abuses and violence or even seek help. Since the report, homophobia in Ghana has only risen and too many human lives are at stake.

The combination of the criminalization of adult consensual same-sex conduct and the profoundly religious and socially conservative Ghanaian context has made it almost difficult for victims to report abuses and violence or even seek help. Since the report, homophobia in Ghana has only risen and too many human lives are at stake. Most African societies associate a great deal of secrecy and taboo to matters of sex and the odds only worsen when things are narrowed down to an individual’s sexuality. Ghana is heavily influenced by cultural and religious systems, hence creating a hostile space for any identity or practice that declines from what is typical and considered default. Life is very much detrimental for LGBT person living in Ghana and the individual loss associated with identifying as gay instills a fear that keeps many on the ‘down low’ – a term for LGBT persons who, for fear of rejection and loss, suppress and keep hidden, the feelings they have for the same-sex. Ghana is heavily influenced by cultural and religious systems, hence creating a hostile space for any identity or practice that declines from what is typical and considered default. Life is very much detrimental for LGBT person living in Ghana and the individual loss associated with identifying as gay instills a fear that keeps many on the ‘down low’ – a term for LGBT persons who, for fear of rejection and loss, suppress and keep hidden, the feelings they have for the same-sex. Most African societies associate a great deal of secrecy and taboo to matters of sex and the odds only worsen when things are narrowed down to an individual’s sexuality.

DEBUNKING MISCONCEPTIONS


• Homosexuality is not socially contagious for people to safeguard themselves from.

• Homosexuality is not an illness or a disease or mental condition, and there are several scientific research studies to demystify those claims.

• Homosexuality is not unnatural because sexual diversity has been scientifically proven many decades ago and is evident in all societies.

• Homosexuality does not translate promiscuity or an undignified sexual lifestyle.

• Human sexual diversity has always been biological and innate, with very little/no external influences. There is no evidence that any kind of “therapy” or “treatment” can change sexual orientation.

• Homosexuality is not a product of a broken home or an unstable family or a one-parent system.

• Homosexuality is not the result of growing up in a female/male dominated family or by having an overbearing mother. Effeminacy is not a birth defect or a disorder. It is naturally occurring and can, by no means, be regulated

• All feelings are internal, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. Therefore, homosexuality cannot be “acquired” or learned.

• Homosexuality is not a Western invention nor unAfrican. Sexual diversity and orientation has always been part of human society. It was not invented.

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