The Gay Traditional Council of Ghana has said legalising homosexuality now will not favour its members since they are not yet ready for the consequences and are “enjoying” themselves as things stand within the current legal status quo.
Spokesperson for the group, Philcollins Agbedanu-Kröger, said: “I’m speaking on behalf of the Gay Traditional Council in Ghana. They said I should give you this word: that they themselves are not ready for anything, anything that is going to come [off], they are not ready for it. But you should be prepared, if they are ready they are going to tell you that they are ready. When they are ready you cannot stop them, when they are ready they are going to march, maybe in 50 years to come, in 100 years to come, they want to tell you that this is not the time, maybe the coming generation. So anybody that will get this, try to give it around, send it to them, let them listen so that they sleep, they can relax, they can have a peace of mind.”
The Council made its sentiments known through Mr Agbedanu-Kröger after its meeting today, Monday 27 November following comments by President Nana Akufo-Addo during an interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera that even though the legalisation of homosexuality is not a matter “on the agenda”, it is “bound to happen” sometime in the future.
Asked by the interviewer about why Ghana’s laws still criminalise homosexuality, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “This is a socio-cultural issue, if you like,” adding: “I don’t believe that in Ghana, so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion that will say: ‘Change it [the law], let’s then have a new paradigm in Ghana’”.
The Ghanaian leader, however, said: “I think that it is something that is bound to happen”.
Asked by the interviewer: “What’s going to provoke it, what’s going to make it happen?” President Akufo-Addo said: “Oh, like elsewhere in the world, the activities of individuals [and] groups”.
He recalled how countries such as England, which, in the past, abhorred homosexuality, have over the years succumbed to pressure from LGBTQI lobbyists to amend their laws to accommodate same-sex relationship.
“I grew up in England; I went to school as a young boy in England and I grew up at a time in England when homosexuality was banned there, it was illegal and I lived in the period when British politicians thought it was anathema to think about changing the law and suddenly the activities of individuals, of groups, a certain awareness, a certain development grew and grew and grew stronger and it forced a change in law. I believe those are the same processes that will bring about changes in our situation.”
The president, however, pointed out that: “At the moment, I don’t feel and I don’t see that in Ghana, there is that strong current of opinion that will say: ‘This is something that we need even deal with’. It’s not, so far, a matter which is on the agenda.”
However, the Gay Traditional Council of Ghana says it will resist any moves by Mr Akufo-Addo to legalise homosexuality now, since, according to Mr Philcollins Agbedanu-Kröger, the LGBTQI community in Ghana is not ready for that leap.
The stance of the Gay Traditional Council of Ghana ties in with comments by a gay man and a lesbian, who spoke to Moro Awudu on Monday, that legalising homosexuality will not guarantee their safety.
Speaking under the alias Patricia, the lesbian said: “It is not about the activism, mind you there are a lot of us out there…but at the end of the day if it’s legalised, people will lynch you even if you come out because this is Africa and the African mindset is different. We are not ready to accept a lot of things like that.
“Even though things are changing, we are not ready to accept things like that. Once we get protection, then it’s OK. If we are going to get security and the backing of the state, then we’re OK. Then we’re ready to speak for others like us but we can’t come out and the next day someone is chasing you and stoning you…it’s about a lot of education to change the mindset of the people and not just passing it into law.”
For his part, the gay who spoke under the alias K.K. said: “I don’t support that [legalisation]. We are around, we exist, we are in Ghana, we do what we are supposed to do, we pay our taxes, we live in your houses, and, so, I think he [president] shouldn’t legalise it because we are in Ghana. If he legalises it today, although it is legalised, it does not give us our security.
“You can go out one night; someone will just look at you and say: ‘this person is so annoying, he’s gay,’ and will just hit you or shoot you. As of now, I’m in Ghana, I’m married, I’m with my husband and I’m cool though it’s not legalised. What happens in my room remains in my room. I’m not coming on the street to kiss my husband…let them keep their legalisation to themselves we are cool with what we have. If the president wants to legalise it, it’s OK, if he doesn’t, we’re cool but he shouldn’t tell us we need people speaking for us.”