Ghana poised to vote on ‘worst anti-LGBTQ bill ever,’ advocates warn

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07/29/2021

Draft legislation in Ghana would make identifying as gay or even an ally to the LGBTQ community a second-degree felony punishable by five years in prison — with advocating for LGBTQ rights punishable by up to 10 years. Same-sex conduct is already a crime in the West African country, with violators facing a three-year sentence, but the new Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill seeks to criminalize identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, nonbinary, queer, an ally “or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female,” according to a version of the bill leaked online. Advocating for the rights of anyone in those categories — through speech, printed material, electronic media or other means — could result in an even steeper sentence of up to a decade in prison. The proposal, which was submitted to parliament last month, also explicitly bans same-sex marriage and adoption, LGBTQ-focused associations and gender-affirming surgery — ”except where the procedure is intended to correct a biological anomaly including intersex.” Gross indecency, which according to the measure includes cross-dressing and public displays of same-sex affection, would be considered a misdemeanor with a jail sentence of between six months and a year. Danny Bediako of Rightify Ghana, a local LGBTQ group, called the measure “a homophobe’s dream law.” “The community is shocked at how wide-ranging it is,” he said. “People are even scared to go out now and some members say they will leave the country if the bill is passed into law. Even those who want to help us will be afraid.”

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