Inclusion and Criminalisation – the two sides of the LGBTQ+ debate in Ghana


Kofi is a respectable, married man with two children. He also describes himself, however, as a “man having sex with a man” (MSM). No one in his community suspects that he has been exposed to HIV, but he tested positive and has been going to the clinic for his antiretroviral drugs on a regular basis. The antiretrovirals, when administered diligently, have been shown to be highly effective in suppressing the virus in people living with HIV and in preventing the transmission of HIV. Kofi believes he will get to a point when he is unable to pass on the virus to another person through sexual intercourse. Kofi, however, is not happy about his living condition. Thus, apart from being disciplined with his antiretroviral drugs, he has joined a counselling and rehabilitation programme that focuses on educating members about safer sexual lifestyles. Within the counselling and rehabilitation programme they also have access to information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as products like condoms, to encourage Kofi and others like him to adopt safer sexual practices lifestyles. Mr Daniel Wilson Ampofo (not his real name) shares this anecdote to highlight his fears about the Proper Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values ( Anti-LGBTQ+) Bill, which is before Parliament. The Private Member’s Bill funded by some Members of Parliament seeks to make it illegal to be gay or to advocate for gay rights in Ghana. The Bill further criminalises the promotion and funding of LGBTQ+ activities as well as public displays of affection, cross-dressing and more. Campaigning for LGBTQ+ persons on social media or online platforms is also prohibited under the Bill. It, however, seeks to provide for protection of and support for children, persons who are victims or accused of LBBTTQQIAAP+ and related activities and other persons and related matters, but people advocating the rights of these sexual minorities will also be penalised.

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