The LGBT issue and its surrounding legalities are acclaimed to be a sensitive matter purposely the reason why powerful voices in the country linger to speak out. The group in itself is pushing all forces together to elevate their agenda to supremacy where to a point no law could stand in between them. Here is a brief explanation of LGBT and its powerful force.
LGBT literally stands for lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer. The addition of ‘IQ’ making LGBTIQ stands for Intersex and Queer respectively. Intersex people are individuals who are born with one or two anomalies in their chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitalias that according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights “do not fit the typical definition for male or female bodies”. Queer in simple terms consider themselves to align with LGBT. They do not have the conformity of strictly adhering to the norm of being sexually or romantically attracted to the opposite gender neither do they strictly conform to their gender assigned to them by birth.
The EU presented the first-ever EU Strategy for LGBTIQ equality as announced by President von der Leyen in her 2020 State of the Union Address Commissioner for Equality. Helena Dalli in a speech stated “Today, the EU asserts itself, as the example to follow, in the fight for diversity and inclusion. Equality and non-discrimination are core values and fundamental rights in the European Union. This means that everybody in the European Union should feel safe and free without fear of discrimination or violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics. We are still a long way away from the full inclusion and acceptance that LGBTIQ people deserve. Together with the Member States that do not have national LGBTIQ equality strategies to adopt one, addressing the specific equality needs of LGBTIQ people within their country”.
The strategies laid out in securing the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ includes;
- Legal protection in fighting discrimination especially in the area of employment
- Ensuring the safety of the LGBTIQ family against hate crime, hate speech, and violence
- Initiating protection of the right of LGBTIQ (rainbow family) who cross EU borders
- LGBTIQ equality around the world
The recent establishment and opening of an LGBT office in Accra amidst gaining support from the European Union has sparked a lot of controversies concerning the rights and freedom of the minority group. They often refer to themselves as a community on the count that, they are a group who are related in similar identities across the globe. They have been in existence since time immemorial but could not afford to openly reveal their nature due to the fear of family rejection and social discrimination which involves hate speech, hate crime, and violence. However, in contemporary times, the minority group who literally hid from the sight of society has gathered momentum to voice out. What has caused the sudden change overtime?
An international body, the European Union which comprises 27 powerful European countries has leveled a strong voice to advocate for the rights of the group as part of its established purpose which is to “promote inclusion and combat discrimination”. The EU’s support has given the LGBT community leverage to protest and stand for their rights as humans who have the right to live without fear and rejection as to any other human irrespective of wherever they find themselves. That said, then what has the EU’s decision entirely on the promotion of the rights of LGBT got to do with Africa and Ghana narrowly for the purpose of this article. One may say Europe is not Africa therefore their laws should not have an effect here.
Unfortunately, Africa as a whole and Ghana as the subject matter have an alliance with some of these countries in terms of trade and aid. Our economy in Ghana is mostly dependent on importation from these European countries likewise, seeking financial assistance. Therefore our over-dependency on these countries has given them the mandate to impose on us their laws governing their jurisdiction. Despite all these, don’t we as a democratic country have a say in issues concerning us? What does our law, religion, moral and social ethics say about the issue of LGBT in our society?
Ghana as a country has long since abhorred the practice of same-sex acts. The majority of Ghana’s population hold an anti-LGBT sentiment which clearly indicates that the practice is prohibited. Section 104 (1) (b) of the Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960 states that “unnatural carnal knowledge” with consent is considered a misdemeanour and under Article 296(4) of the Criminal Procedural Code, a misdemeanour shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years. This law criminalises the act and simply makes it illegal, thus, our laws of the land frown on such acts.
Anti-gay rights activist Moses Foh Amoaning boldly spoke on the issue of LGBT operations in the country and petitioned the government to take immediate action as he stated “The presidency, the ministry of foreign affairs and the IGP have every right to close it down immediately and arrest and prosecute those people involved in it”. He added “the constitution chapter that deals with Fundamental Human rights and freedom are pretty clear, it talks about discrimination against race, colour, sex and religious matters. It never talks about the standard physiology which is normally used for LGBT rights, that is a sexual orientation, we don’t have it in our constitution”.
The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) as well as the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference as religious bodies in the country have openly declared their stance against such acts. The General Secretary of GPCC, Emmanuel Bariga in an interview with Starr FM stated that “For us as a nation, it’s a no-no, I think the greatest law that we can think about is our conscience of this nation has bought into. It’s not something we want someone to impose on us. Me as a Christian, this devilish act is not something we are going to accept. He added “We are going to make sure we imbibe in the generation to come to a hostile attitude towards this act. This act is against the conscience of this nation and we’re not going to accept it. We can think about what happens to the office later. We’ll not do anything illegal but we don’t think there’s anything right or human about LGBTQ. No one should try and throw dust in our eyes”.
The GCBC also in a press statement issued by their president, Most Reverend Philip K. Naameh stated that the establishment of the LGBTQI agenda is a “complete disorder of the fundamental law of God in creating man and woman” he added that “The LGBTQI is a clear departure from God’s purpose of creation because the woman was not created to be an object of pleasure for the man”. That said, the governing council urged the government not to be “cowed down or succumb to the pressure to legalize the rights of LGBTQIs in Ghana” because on their part they are only going to endorse the marriages between a man and a woman for the sake of God’s laws.
On that note, what stance has our law governing body taken? What voice is our president going to project to the outside world concerning the country’s decision on the subject matter? Considering the fact that our laws, religion, and moral values totally object to this act should be a liability to raise a voice with one accord to categorically with all boldness reject that which is been forced down our throats. We as citizens of the country should mount pressure on the government to downright proclaim its denial of the unaccustomed practice in the country.
If we should keep our mouths shut with folded arms, our future generations are going to suffer the consequences. The LGBT movement has a powerful force empowering their activities which is fast spreading globally and they are going to fight for what they believe should be done. Let us not also relax and settle for less, the majority equally has a right to reject what we deem unlawful.
If the LGBT minority group acclaim rights and freedom then other minority groups like criminals should equally be allowed to walk freely since the law is absolute. What is unacceptable by the majority of the people of the land is what is the law and it is what should be respected. Let’s all come together to resist the oppressor’s rule with all our will and might forevermore.