LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. When the letter Q is added to LGBT (LGBTQ), it identifies as queer or those questioning themselves on their sexual identity. LGBT people are very frequently victims of physical violence and psychological abuse, extortion and discrimination in many different aspects of daily life, because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. A member of Ghana’s LGBT community have spoken about the discrimination they face.
Following anti-LGBT protests against the community space, the LGBT+ Rights Ghana center was closed by police in the capital Accra on 25 February. When Ghana's first LGBT community center and safe space opened in January, Sandra knew deep within herself that it would last. She said They won't allow LGBT to operate in Ghana, to have their own office. They won't. When she says they, she's talking about Ghanaian civilization in general.
Despite Ghana’s Constitution ensuring a right to freedom of speech, expression and assembly to her citizens, these fundamental rights are actively denied to LGBT people. The LGBT group in Ghana says it was a place to plan, socialize and advocate for our freedoms and liberties. With it gone, Sandra says there is nowhere else and queer Ghanaians are not safe. "Everybody is running for shelter, finding places to hide, because people are being attacked, abused on the street.
Sandra, an activist for the community, has been moving around friends' houses since anti-LGBT people turned up outside her home. They were shouting Come out, come out, I'm looking for you. So I came out and I asked them: You tell me, you claim you are righteous, come and touch me. And I'm putting it to you that nobody can touch me; and they left. Fears about the rights of LGBT people in Ghana are not new. Human Rights Watch said in 2018 that queer Ghanaians "suffer widespread discrimination and abuse both in public and in family settings. Nevertheless, LGBT people are very frequently victims of physical violence and emotional abuse."
Sandra says that since transitioning, life has become much tougher. She can't go to places she used to go, she can't get on public transport, she can't get a job. I have so much in me I want to put out there, there's so much I wish I could do. It's just that I'm not getting the support to do that. Right now she is more concerned for her wellbeing. At the end of the day, I am not the only person who has sacrificed their life." We don't know how LGBT may survive in Ghana but it shall surely be accepted into our society and constitution. If not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then someday: A hope she hopes to hope.
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