Ghana Violates Queer People’s Constitutional Rights, 250+ Ghanaian Feminists Stand In Solidarity

Forgive me for any typos, I’m writing this after staying up all night.

In the past few years, Ghana has attempted to capitalize on the Black Diaspora’s interest in Homecoming through the use of tourism. Tourism ventures targeted at Black Americans and Black Europeans are advertised as a “Year of Return”. The “Year of Return” is a tourist program marketed to Black people globally; where Black Diasporans are encouraged to come explore Ghana’s cultural relics, club scenes, and lively beaches as part of an immersive “Black experience”. Ghana has a well-refined PR machine and has earned a reputation for being a tolerant, kind, and hospitable place. Despite this reputation, Ghana is a deeply intolerant and violent place without the necessary mechanisms of a meaningful democracy. Every meaningful democracy secures at least one fundamental goal: it protects the rights and wellbeing of minorities from the violence and tyranny of the majority.

If all persons are guaranteed the above rights, then it follows that sexual and gender minorities should be given the liberty to freely associate, organize, and express any thought or belief about the personal relationships of consenting adults, without the tyranny of the majority threatening them.

In the past few days the Ghanaian State has ramped up state violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+ ) persons in Ghana; both in the alarming declarations of criminalization, and in the use of police forces to invade and shut down the LGBTQ center located in Accra. Make no mistake the use of state/police/national security forces to shut down the LGBTQ center, and the use of threats by national security forces to intimidate LGBTQ activists, is a direct violation of Chapter 5 of the Ghanaian constitution.

According to the Constitution, all persons are supposed to enjoy, free from interference from the State : (1) freedom of assembly, (2) freedom of speech, (3) freedom of thought, conscience and belief (4) freedom of association, (5) freedom of movement, (6)freedom to form or join political parties and to participate in political activities subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a free and democratic society…

So why the hell did national security forces invade and shut down the LGBTQ center and threaten activists? If all persons are guaranteed the above rights, then it follows that sexual and gender minorities should be given the liberty to freely associate, organize, and express any thought or belief about the personal relationships of consenting adults, without the tyranny of the majority threatening them. Unfortunately, as anyone can see in the 20th and 21st century, “rights” granted by the State are not automatically granted and applied. This means that marginalized persons of any weak democratic State must continue to call onto the Courts, the Legislature and struggle in the streets for these rights to be protected. This is particularly concerning because any time the government signals that a group of people will not be protected at the same level, the government not only exposes them to police harassment and judicial violence, but also to the mob violence of private citizens. Here are a few tweets that highlight this concern:

Nonetheless, Ghanaian feminists are fighting back. Please check out the statement below that expounds more upon the issue:

Statement in Solidarity with LGBT+ Ghanaians 

by a Collective of Ghanaian Feminists

We are Ghanaian feminists writing in solidarity with LGBT+ Rights Ghana and queer and transgender Ghanaians everywhere. We write to show the community that you are not alone. Further, we hope this statement can help other Ghanaians who feel supportive know that they do not have to be cowed by the violent rhetoric of the government, the press, and the religious sector. The violence directed at the community in the wake of their office launch demonstrates the vitriolic conditions under which queer Ghanaians live and why such a community space is needed. We reject the current onslaught of religious, media, and state violence meted out against queer and transgender people, who are simply asserting their God-given right to exist with dignity and safety. 

The backlash against LGBT+ Rights Ghana follows a trend of moral panic led by the media, religious groups, and political figures. Whenever queer Ghanaians demand rights, respect, and safety in our own country, these leaders use the guise of morality and concern to push a violent agenda. Their agenda is harmful to queer and trans Ghanaians, and it ultimately seeks to control how all Ghanaians live, regardless of their sexuality. We are already witnessing the toll these attacks take on people‚Äôs lives. As a result of the recent media frenzy, many LGBT+ persons are facing increasing threats of violence online, at work and in their homes. Community members have been threatened with evictions, forced marriage and employment termination. 

As feminists, we believe that the patriarchal and colonial constructions of gender and sexuality that shape social expectations and norms not only hurt the LGBT+ community, but continue to keep other marginalized groups–including poor women, sex workers, people with dreadlocs, amongst others–oppressed and constantly policed. We align our political perspective with a radical vision of freedom and justice for all people in Ghana, which is also enshrined in our Constitution. 

Of the undersigned, some of us identify as LGBT+, and others identify differently. Our genders are wide-ranging, our geographic locations are in Ghana and its vast Diaspora, and our life experiences are diverse. What binds us is a shared vision for the freedom and liberation of all people, particularly those who are most marginalised in our communities. We unapologetically and unreservedly stand in support of LGBT+ people to live with dignity and under safe conditions in Ghana. And we call on allies to do the work of speaking up for queer and trans people as they are subjected to violence by the state, religious institutions and the public.

For inquiries about this statement, please contact Dr. Anima Adjepong at adjepoaa@ucmail.uc.edu. You may add your name to the letter here

Signed, 

  1. Anima Adjepong, PhD, USA
  2. Nana Yaa Agyepong, Ghana 
  3. Shakia Asamoah, USA
  4. Akua Gyamerah, DrPh, USA 
  5. M. A. Marfo, Young Feminists Collective, Ghana
  6. Wunpini Mohammed, PhD, USA
  7. Rita Nketiah, PhD, Canada 
  8. Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Ghana
  9. Abena Benewaa Fosu, Ghana
  10. Malaika Aryee-Boi, Ghana
  11. Shelia Adufutse, Ghana
  12. Abena Awuku, Netherlands
  13. Raphaela M.A. Rockson, Ghana
  14. Fatima B. Derby, Ghana
  15. Godfried Asante, PhD, San Diego State University, USA
  16. Akosua Hanson, Ghana
  17. Abena Darko, Ghana
  18. Joseph Ewoodzie, PhD, Davidson College, USA
  19. Amma Dodi, USA
  20. Johlyn Fallah, UK
  21. Sylvia Bawa, PhD, York University, Canada
  22. Nobiana Dodi, USA
  23. Adwoa Asante, Ghanafeminism.com  USA
  24. Makafui Ahorney, Ghana
  25. Sayidatu Mariam Ibrahim, University of Ghana, Ghana
  26. Ama Amponsah, Canada
  27. Elvina Quaison, Ghana
  28. Christine Hanson, SOH, Ghana
  29. Kafui Offori, Ghana 
  30. Portia Asantewaa Duah, Feminist, Ghana 
  31. Ria Boss, Ghana
  32. Adoley Pappoe, Israel 
  33. Adaeze Williams, Nigeria
  34. Salma Shanni, Ghana
  35. Tracy N. K. Owoo, Ghana
  36. Debbie Frempong, USA
  37. Emma Dodi, USA
  38. Maame Akua Marfo, Ghana
  39. Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, Canadian Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Canada
  40. Ismael Montana, PhD, Northern Illinois University, USA
  41. Shone Edem, Key Watch Ghana, Ghana
  42. Wisdom, Solace Initiative , Ghana
  43. Alliance for Equality and Diversity (AfED), Ghana
  44. Kwame Edwin Otu, PhD, University of Virginia, USA
  45. Emmanuel Owusu-Bonsu, FOKN Bois / Wanlov the Kubolor, Ghana
  46. Rose Afriyie, USA
  47. Yasmin Fuseini-Codjoe, USA
  48. Ewurabena S. Hutchful, USA
  49. Jeanne Barbara Debre, Ghana
  50. Selasie Dotse, USA
  51. Nana Yankah, Esq., Shia Travel Group, LLC, USA
  52. Akua Agyen, USA
  53. Amma Gyamfowa, Canada
  54. Keya Prempeh, Canada
  55. Phillip Adu, Canada
  56. Chris Akyah, USA
  57. Olivet Aggrey-Fynn Makiava , USA
  58. Madonna Kendona, Accra, Ghana
  59. Kofi Ofosu, PHD, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  60. Elfreda Tetteh, Germany
  61. Betty Esi Awuku, The Netherlands
  62. Malaka Grant, South Africa
  63. Serena Dankwa, University of Bern, Switzerland
  64. Yvette Tetteh, Pure and Just Company, Ghana
  65. Jessica Longdon, United Kingdom
  66. Ayesha Harruna Attah, Senegal
  67. Dshamilja Adeifio, University of Teacher Training, Switzerland
  68. Maame Akua Marfo, Ghana
  69. Sefakor Agbesi, Germany
  70. Nnenna Onuoha, Germany
  71. Kuukuwa Manful, U.K.
  72. Teki Martei, Ghana
  73. Panji Anoff, Pidgen Music, Ghana
  74. Selinam Setranah, Ghana
  75. Naa Oyo S. Quartey Papafio, Switzerland
  76. Anita Enyonam Kwaku (Naa Busuafi), Afed, Ghana
  77. Gabriella Rockson, Ghana
  78. Hauwa Uthman, Ghana
  79. Sel Kofiga, The Slum Studio, Ghana
  80. Daniela Gyeabour, Canada
  81. Germaine Bombande, Ghana
  82. Esinam Agbeyaka, Canada
  83. Nana Akua Amoafoa Mensah , Ghana
  84. Owiredua Akrofi, UK
  85. Nana Aba Armoo-Daniels, USA
  86. Dorcas Amoah, Brooklyn, NY
  87. Owiredua Akrofi, UK
  88. Dorothy L. Hammond, University of Ghana, Ghana
  89. Kinna Likimani, Ghana 
  90. Tawakalitu Braimah, Women in AI, France
  91. Nii Kotei Nikoi, PhD, USA
  92. Aseye Afi-Djangmah, Ghana
  93. Naa Korkoi, Ghana
  94. Afia Kwakyewaa Owusu-Nyantakyi, Ghana
  95. Fouzia Alhassan, Ghana
  96. Justice Okai-Allotey, Humanist Association of Ghana, Ghana
  97. Caren Akoto-Adade, Ghana
  98. Angela Otoo, Drama Queens, Ghana
  99. Jacob Alhassan, Canada
  100. Prof. Senam Okudzeto, Director Art in Social Structures, Switzerland
  101. Franka Hagan, Ghana
  102. Nana Akua Amoafoa Mensah, Ghana
  103. Anella Bieteru, Canada
  104. Ayisha Alhassan , United Kingdom
  105. Rasheeda Yehuza, Germany
  106. Sekyi-Brown Reginald, Ghana
  107. Ayisha Lineo Gariba, University of Toronto, Canada
  108. Amy Cybil, Ghana
  109. Hetty Bonney-Mercer, FemInStyle Africa, UK
  110. Ady Namaran Coulibaly, Ghana
  111. Lilian Obeng, Canada
  112. Michaela E. Rockson, Ghana
  113. Samuel Kwadwo Owusu-Ansah, Ghana
  114. FemInStyle Africa, Ghana
  115. Cassandra Osei, University of Illinois, USA
  116. Nana Afua Yeboaa Brantuo, USA
  117. Jessica Armooh, UK
  118. Victoria Naa Adukwei Bulley, United Kingdom
  119. Abena Offeibea Asare-Boye, Ghana
  120. Anabella Afra Boateng , USA
  121. Nana Akua Agyeibea Asare-Boye, Ghana
  122. Kwasi Adarkwa, University of Ghana, Ghana
  123. Abena Okoampah, Ghana
  124. Maame Akosua Addai A., Ghana
  125. Jennifer Gbarinaa, Ghana
  126. Adjoa Okornore Manu, Ghana
  127. Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, Ed.D., USA
  128. Efe Plange, The University of Texas at El Paso, USA
  129. Kojo Nyako, Ghana
  130. Amazing Grace Lois Danso, Ghana
  131. Efua Sintim, United Kingdom
  132. Tiffany Howard, Ghana
  133. Ama Gyamerah, USA
  134. Dr. Abena Ampofoa Asare, Stony Brook University, USA
  135. Amanor Apenkro, Ghana
  136. Prince Asante Marfo, Ghana
  137. Michael Gyan Nyarko, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  138. Vida Awinime Bugri, France
  139. Baaba Quansah, Ghana
  140. Latifa Amadu, Ghana
  141. Chisomo Kalinga, United Kingdom
  142. Emiley Charley , USA
  143. Christopher Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, Nigeria
  144. Adwoa Hanson-Hall, Paula’s Choice, USA
  145. Naa Amerly Charley, USA
  146. Pamm Takyiwaa, Ghana
  147. Wairimu Muriithi, USA
  148. Sheilla Addison, Ghana
  149. Charlotte Addison, Ghana
  150. Nana Boahen, Canada
  151. Zeeyyah Ahmed Mudasir, Ghana
  152. Ngozi Plange, UK
  153. Nnennaya Amuchie, Washington D.C.
  154. Francesca Sobande, UK
  155. Helena Mate-Kole Rampe, England
  156. Isaac Dery (PhD), Ghana
  157. Gyasiwa Arhin, UK
  158. Ryan Ansah, England
  159. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Ghana
  160. Sepo Achampong, Bou, Toronto, Canada
  161. Kennetha Brown, Ghana
  162. Nana Kwame Owusu-Ofori, Ghana
  163. Belinda “Ryeda” Attached, Ghana
  164. Nana Kwame Owusu-Ofori, Ghana
  165. Colette Adu ‚Äď Badu, Ghana
  166. Adel Adam, Accra
  167. Adekunle, Boston, USA
  168. Maame Ama Boatemaa Agyenim, USA
  169. Michelle Bonsu, Canada
  170. Kofi Yeboah, University of Alberta, Canada
  171. Akosua A. I. Ampofo, Ghana
  172. Jennifer K. Akuamoah, Ghana
  173. Yasmin Wilkinson, USA
  174. Antoinette Sakyibea Ohene, Ghana
  175. Derek Ofori, Ghana
  176. Michelle Ansong, Toronto, Canada
  177. Takyiwaa Manuh, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  178. Audrey Boateng, USA
  179. Nana Grace Barbara Teiko Kwapong, MBA, Oslo, Norway
  180. Dubie Toa-Kwappong, Norway/USA
  181. Ruth Tamakloe, Ghana
  182. Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, New York, NY, USA
  183. Dr. Darkowaa Adu-Kofi, Ghana
  184. Mistress Velvet, Chicago, USA
  185. Sena Afi Bleboo Akaba, United Kingdom
  186. Eric Gyamfi, Accra, Ghana
  187. Kofoworola Abiola, USA
  188. Christina Boateng, London, UK
  189. Naa Yarley, Ghana
  190. Couchhours, Ghana
  191. Maame Baffour, Ghana
  192. Tracy Brobbey, Ghana
  193. Kobena Ampofo, Ghana
  194. Vincentia Osabutey-Anikon, United Kingdom
  195. Abena Oworae, USA
  196. Ata Amponsah, USA
  197. Brittany Hudson, Toronto, Canada
  198. Khadijah Diskin, Rainbow Noir, Manchester
  199. Afi Elorm, Accra, Ghana
  200. Apefa Adjivon, Toronto, Canada
  201. Fui Can-Tamakloe, Accra, Ghana
  202. Flintwood Danso, New York
  203. Poetyk Prynx, Accra, Ghana 
  204. Abena Asare, Ghana
  205. Audrey Boateng, USA
  206. Mo Saunders, Victoria, Canada
  207. Lee Dekel100% SILK, Toronto, Canada
  208. Nana Kwame Afosah, PhD, VCU, USA
  209. Jere Agbaje, London, United Kingdom
  210. Afua Anku, Comforting Queens, Canada
  211. Marian Addai, San Francisco, Canada
  212. Jessica Stead, Minneapolis, USA
  213. Françoise Moudouthe, AWDF, Ghana
  214. Akosua Achiah Adwini-Poku, Ghana
  215. Emma Urofsky, USA
  216. Alexis Osei, USA
  217. Elle Badu, USA
  218. Scovia Aweko, Uganda
  219. Kai Lutterodt, Diversity Matters, London
  220. Edwin Dzobo, Ghana
  221. Nana Yaa Asare Boadu, New York, USA
  222. Eliza Aba Kwofie, LUSPA, Ghana
  223. Nana Kwabena, Atlanta, GA, USA
  224. Ami Akoto, Ghana
  225. Khadia Alexandra Okai-koi, Ghana
  226. Abena Boamah, Chicago, USA
  227. Joanna Aryee-Atta, Germany
  228. Suzanne Mol, Utrecht, Netherlands
  229. Alidu Abdallah, ANYTASK, Accra
  230. Nanama Boatemaa Acheampong, Ghana
  231. Miss Anita E Asamoah MPH, Public Health Perspectives, Ghana
  232. Idris Ajia, UK
  233. Theophilus Sosu, University of Professional Studies, Ghana
  234. Lux Designs Gh, Ghana
  235. Elliot Akosa, Accra, Ghana
  236. Pontso Mafethe, African Women’s Development Fund, Ghana 
  237. Daniel Ansah-Quaye, Accra, Ghana
  238. Pearl Ehlan, Ghana
  239. Latifatu Sulemana, Accra, Ghana 
  240. James Quarshie, Drama Queens Ghana, Accra
  241. Tanoa Sasraku, London, England
  242. Adwoa Darko, SOAS, London, UK
  243. Davida Afriyie, London
  244. Elorm Koto, USA
  245. Aba Akyianu, Lawyer, Canada
  246. Kwabena Agyare, Ghana
  247. Nana Ambon Akasi, USA
  248. Marcia Frimpong, USA
  249. Ewurama Akroma Dontoh, Monash University, Malaysia
  250. Ese Esiso, Nigeria
  251. Kwasi Oti-Awere, MBA, Canada
  252. Zo√ę Gadegbeku, USA¬†
  253. Abeer Alam, UAE
  254. Latifah Cecilia Ama Cengel, Beauty & Politics, Frankfurt, Germany 
  255. Ariel Arman Woode, Ghana
  256. Naana Ewol, USA
  257. Chantelle Myers, Canada

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