Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ bill sparks spike in “legally sanctioned” extortion

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11/29/2022

Last year, Ghana’s parliament introduced a controversial new anti-LGBTQ bill that could further criminalise same-sex acts and identities. Although homosexuality was initially outlawed under colonial rule – as in many African countries – and then in Ghana’s 1960 Criminal Offences Act, the new bill could significantly increase penalties and offences. If passed, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill would introduce jail terms of up to 5 years for same-sex intercourse, up to 10 years for anyone “promoting” LGBTQ activities, and up to 1 year for a same-sex “public show of amorous relations”. Among other things, the law would also forcibly disband all LGBTQ organisations, ban trans healthcare, and prohibit adoption by same-sex couples. Although it has not yet been signed into law, the anti-LGBTQ bill has already affected the lives of Ghana’s queer communities. A report this year by Outright International found a surge of violence against LGBTQ individuals. Of the 44 queer Ghanaians interviewed in the research, including paralegals and activists, every single one said they knew someone who had suffered some form of harassment or discrimination. These included sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, beatings, mob attacks, evictions, and forced conversion practices.

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