A peek into the Ghanaian closet

July 24, 2003

Cam is a South african who travels to Ghana on business and had this to say about gay life there. “I had visited Ghana six times (in the last five years), on business and pleasure, and had never really explored gay life in that country, because of my demanding business schedule. I had, however, communicated by e-mail with a young gay Ghanaian man over the last year. On my visit to Ghana in June 2003, I finally met with my “new” young gay Ghanaian friend, who then introduced me to the “not so closeted” gay Ghanaian life.”

So what is gay life like in Ghana? “There are no gay clubs in Ghana, as there are in South Africa. Gay life is mostly private and most gay people meet at house parties organised by friends all around the country.” Can told BTM.

“In the capital city, Accra, there are basically two nightspots, namely, Strawberry’s in Adabraka and Chesters in Nyaniba Estates, both situated fairly near the city centre. They are both straight clubs but are frequented by both gays and heterosexuals. Both nightspots are only really lively after 10pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Most of the gays that frequent these night spots are not restrained either in dress or behaviour and definitely seem to be out of the closet, at least whilst they are at these venues.”

But Cam has a warning for tourists visiting these venues. “Gay tourists to Ghana should beware of heterosexual young men posing as gay men. They frequent these and various nightspots offering their “services” to the unsuspecting tourist and then end up blackmailing the tourist, taking advantage of the illegal status of the being gay in Ghana.”

On the topic of lesbian relationships, Cam was told that they are more acceptable to the heterosexual community than are gay relationships between two men, but no reason was given for this.

For men however there are more details about the kind of pressure put upon them. “There is the usual pressure from parents on young men in their late 20’s to settle down, marry (the opposite sex) and to father children.” Cam told BTM.

“One of the young gay men, 27 years of age, that I became good friends with, has been married for a just over a month, and is ready to “father” his first child. His mother, brother and sisters, and wife know that he is gay.

His wife is most understanding, and actually lives apart from him. He is quite relaxed with the whole arrangement, and has fully accepted that he is gay and not a heterosexual who is confused sexually or a bi-sexual! My other good young gay friend is basically in the same boat. He, however, is only 22 years of age and told me that even though his mother knows that he is gay, he will probably be pressurised in about five years time to marry and father a child. His mother has told him that she will raise the child as her own. He is also at peace with his sexuality and accepts himself as a gay young man. Both these young men are however “crying out” for a loving gay relationship.”

So what options are there for young gay and lesbian Ghanaians who wish to organise? “Quite a few gay Ghanaians are talking about forming Lesbian and Gay Associations and have admired and held South African Gay activists in high esteem over many years. Hopefully the gays in Ghana will emulate their South African sisters and brothers and “break open their closet doors” for good within the next few years.”

By ‘Behind The Mask’
From: Gmax:  http://www.gmax.co.za/look/07/23-ghana.html

Demonstration Against Gays’ and Lesbians’ Alleged Growing Activity

June 1, 2011

Over a thousand protesters in Ghana have staged a massive demonstration amidst a heavy downpour in the oil city, Sekondi -Takoradi in the Western region to express their opposition to the growing activities of gay and lesbians in that part of West African country.

The protesters defied to engineer their displeasure as they went through the principal streets of the metropolis wielding placards following an alleged report that close to 60 gays and lesbians from the Eastern, Ashanti and Central regions of that country, have attended a get-together held in Tanokrom and other suburbs of the city.

The Muslim community in Takoradi with support from other religious groups and concerned citizens took to the streets of the Twin city.

The Leader of the demonstrators, Saeed Hamid, told AfricaNews that the demonstration was meant to draw government’s attention to the conduct of the gays and lesbians in the country, particularly in the Western Region.

According to the anti-gay and Lesbians group, even though people had the right to choose various sexual orientations and associate with whatever group they desire, the constitution also frowns on the activities of gays and lesbians.

Hamid said Ghana as a country is mainly occupied by Christians and Muslims, and the practice should not be embraced, saying it could have dire consequences on the country.

“Ghana will suffer more than the experience of Sodom and Gomorrah, should we embrace this practice in this country”.

In a petition presented to the Western Regional Minister Paul Evans Aidoo, the protesters said, the rate at which the youth in the Twin City are putting up the practice is alarming and is much of a concern since most of the young boys involved have health problems and wear pampers.

“How would you feel, if someone puts his penis into your anus?” He queried.

Adding that, the act could jeopardize their future.

Hamid mentioned that a lot of expatriates in Tarkwa and Takoradi working in the mining and oil industry were the ones luring the innocent youth into the practice through the influence of money.

They are therefore calling on the government to clearly state what the law says about homosexuality and possibly criminalize the practice. He was however worried that Takoradi is gradually becoming a hub for gays and lesbians hence their decision to resist the ‘’ungodly act’’.

Receiving the petition on behalf of the President, the Western Regional Minister Paul Evans Aidoo assured the demonstrators that steps would be taken to address their concerns.

The Minster advised the group not to take the law into their own hands by attacking the alleged gays and lesbians in their communities since that would be a breach of the law.

The group has given indications that it would organize a nationwide protest if no positive response is heard from the government after two months.

The Western Regional Police Commander DCOP Mahama Hamidu, who led his team to offer protection to the demonstrators, described the march as peaceful.

Article by John Afful Jnr, AfricaNews reporter in Accra, Ghana
From: AfricaNews

Recent Demonstration Threatens HIV Education and Health Care

June 8th, 2010

A recent march by over a thousand Ghanian Muslims against “the growing activities of gays and lesbians” in this West-African country, could hamper initiatives that target Men having sex with Men (MSM), such as HIV and Aids interventions, activists have warned.

Mac-Darling Cobbinahof the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana, an organisation that also caters for the MSM community said, following a march that went through principal streets of the Metropolis against homosexuality, after an alleged report that close to 60 gays and lesbians from eastern, Ashanti and Central regions of that country were attending a get-together held in Tanokrom.

Mac-Darling said this march has raised fears among the MSM community and this could make it hard to reach them since they would not want to be visible.

“Already they are becoming uninterested to access services because they fear what might happen to them”, he said.

He pointed out that the growing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in many parts of Ghana and the sudden “deep interest” by the media to “dig” for lesbian and gay issues could have sparked the anti-gay march.

“Gay people are more visible in their communities and in clubs now more than before”, he added.

Reports state that the march was organised by rally leader, Saeed Hamid, who told fellow protestors that “Ghana will suffer more than the experience of Sodom and Gomorrah, should we embrace this practice in this country.”

The Ghanaian constitution affirms and protects all human rights for Ghanian citizens and this contradicts the Criminal Code 1960 – Chapter 6, Sexual Offences Article 105, which criminalises homosexual behavior amongst gay men. There is no law in Ghana that prohibits homosexual acts between women.

In 2006 the Ghanaian government banned an LGBTI conference, scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Information Minister, Kwamena Bertels said such a gathering could not be permitted because unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal under the Ghanian  criminal code.

“Homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality are therefore offences under the laws of Ghana”, Bertels said.

From: Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana