In hiding, Ghana’s queer activists keep up the fight

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5/6/21

More than two months after fleeing “unprecedented” threats of violence, members of the queer rights organisation LGBT+ Rights Ghana are still in hiding. “It is very challenging. It takes a lot of toll,” says Alex Kofi Donkor, founder and director of the organisation. “The experiences of the past weeks haven’t been easy … I can only imagine what the others are going through. Because, personally, it was very heavy for me.” On 24 February 2021, in an event that made international headlines, Ghanaian security forces raided and shut down the organisation’s newly opened offices – and a “safe space” for queer people. Donkor, along with other leaders of the organisation, fled. More than two months later, the group are, for now, living at “a safe location” on the outskirts of Accra. Speaking from the room he shares with another member of the organisation, Donkor says: “It’s difficult. But … activists all over the world have to sacrifice some form of life for the greater good. So, in a way, I comfort myself with the fact that it is for the greater good. It is just so that change can happen.” The change they are looking to bring about is the repeal of Section 104 of the country’s Criminal Offences Act, a colonial-era law that punishes “unnatural carnal knowledge” by up to three years’ imprisonment. For now though, and despite being in hiding, they are pushing ahead with their drive to be the first openly LGBTQIA+ organisation registered in the country.

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