As the advocacy group LGBT+ Rights Ghana celebrates the opening of a new office and safe space for the nation’s LGBTQ+ community, the organization has had to fend off homophobic and misleading criticism from a prominent anti-gay crusader.
After LGBT+ Rights Ghana held a fundraiser at the new site, anti-gay campaigner Moses Foh-Amoaning called for the police to shut it down, arrest the group’s leaders and enact laws that further restrict the human rights of LGBTQ+ people in Ghana.
The country’s penal code already provides for up to three years in prison for “unnatural carnal knowledge”.
Foh-Amoaning stated, “The presidency, the ministry of foreign Affairs and the IGP [Inspector General of Police] have every right to investigate that office to close it down immediately and arrest and prosecute those people involved in it.”
LGBT+ Rights Ghana disagrees, of course. In a public statement, the organization declared:
“LGBT+ Rights Ghana has an irrevocable right to exist as a recognized entity and movement entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under Article 21 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. We have the right as Ghanaians to live in peace, join groups, be protected from harm and have our privacy respected.”
The statement also pointed out numerous inaccuracies in the description of the Jan. 31 fundraiser and the community space that Foh-Amoaning gave to the media.
This is the communique from LGBT+ Rights Ghana:
LGBT+ Rights Ghana is a movement at the forefront of championing the rights and freedoms of all LGBTQIA persons in the country. Since our establishment in 2018, our organization has grown, strengthened, and is poised to carry out the aim of striving for a Ghana where all persons, including LGBTQIA people, are treated equally.
On 31st of January 2021, LGBT+ Rights Ghana hosted a fundraiser to officially introduce and promote its community space and to open its doors to members of the Ghanaian LGBT+ community and our allies.
This fundraising activity has unfortunately sparked negative reporting riddled with false narrations in the Ghanaian media. LGBT+ Rights Ghana would like to set the record straight and, by this release, encourage the various media outlets to circulate this information.
The narrative in the public sphere that the Australian High Commission funded the community space is utterly false. The High Commissioner was invited as a guest, just as other guests who graced the occasion, such as the Danish Ambassador and delegates from the EU, amongst others. Their support and solidarity to our cause is one that LGBT+ Rights Ghana very much appreciates.
Contrary to the false information put out by myjoyonline.com, the United States Ambassador was not in attendance at the event. While we are at this moment withholding the location of our community space for the physical safety of our members, it is also false the reporting put out there that we are located at Tesano.
For the physical and mental safety and security of targeted groups, the Ghanaian media is encouraged to get their facts from credible sources and also adhere to the best tactics necessary for covering issues concerning oppressed minority groups.
The organization is aware of the attempts by the Executive Secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, Moses Foe-Amoaning , who has literally taken this information in the media to wage a crusade against our new community space.
LGBT+ Rights Ghana has an irrevocable right to exist as a recognized entity and movement entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under Article 21 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. We have the right as Ghanaians to live in peace, join groups, be protected from harm and have our privacy respected.
We are well aware of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values aims, and we strongly condemn their plan to sow discord and incite violence against an oppressed minority group like ours. We strongly advise that they direct their resources towards fighting real social issues such as poverty, the covid-19 pandemic, and the prevention of crimes such as the prevalent rape culture and abuse of women in Ghana.
LGBT persons in Ghana face many injustices, with homophobia having led to the loss of many Ghanaians’ lives and many more in fear for theirs. LGBT people have peacefully existed on this soil since time immemorial and will continue to do so.
We are no longer allowing the shadows of colonial hate and the abhorrent homophobia decide our future. We urge calm to all our community members, allies and fellow Ghanaians. We also encourage you to ask questions if you have any and we will be on hand to answer.
We are here, we are queer and we are not going anywhere.