3 min read

Hate On Display: First Uganda, Now Ghana

Hate On Display: First Uganda, Now Ghana
Photo by Sara Rampazzo / Unsplash

The world is not a safe place for people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Those of us with even half an eye on the news already know this. We've been watching more and more anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric sweeping the internet, the news media, and finally the legal system.

We've seen the writing on the wall, and we're all smart enough to recognize a full-blown moral panic when we see one.

Most of us are used to seeing hatred and prejudice on display. People who are out of the closet and living openly as anything other than straight or cisgender are frequent targets for attack, and don't get me started on the shit I've seen on social media.

Even asexual people like myself don't get a pass. Seriously, what the hell is people's problem?

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But while things are getting pretty bad here in North America and the UK, the situation in certain parts of Africa is markedly worse.

I've written about the legal troubles LGBTQ+ citizens face in Uganda, even to the point of the death penalty being on the table for 'serial offenders'. But at least there, it is not technically illegal to identify as gay. You'll get in trouble specifically for being caught performing sexual acts with people of the same sex and gender.

In Ghana, however, that is not the case. Now, thanks to a new law, it will soon be illegal simply to identify as being LGBTQ+.

You could come out of the closet and step straight into a jail cell.

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Like in Uganda, gay sex is already illegal in Ghana. People convicted of homosexual behavior can face up to three years in prison. Now, that same sentence could apply to people who simply self-identify as being gay.

And if you dare to donate money to charities and other organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community to fight for their rights, you're looking at five years or more.

This is assuming that this law is signed and put into action, which might not happen. But President Nana Akufo-Addo has already stated he would gladly sign the bill, so long as the population of Ghana supports it.

Just like Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda, Nana has a record of homophobia. He has stated that gay marriage will never be legalized in the country so long as he remains the President.

The world is going backwards in terms of progress and acceptance of differences. That's plain to see. There is some small hope to be found in places like Greece, which has legalized marriage and adoption for gay couples.

But then we turn around and find extremism once again rising, rearing its ugly head in more and more nations. More and more of our brothers, sisters and enby siblings are under threat.

It's easy to look at the law, shake our heads and go about our days. But the people on the ground in Ghana, Uganda, Russia, Hungary and so many other countries around the world- they're suffering.

People like us are suffering. They're being targeted. They're facing pressure that we haven't felt yet, and it's a sobering reminder that things could so easily get worse.

They need our support and compassion more than ever, and the least we can do is stay informed about their situation. We can do our best to back those international organizations that are pushing for change and offering aid to people in need.

We're all human, LGBTQ+ or not. We are all part of the same global community. Now, more than ever, we need to act like it.

Solidarity wins.