A revived bill could jeopardize Ghanaian citizens’ well-being by encouraging people to out members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ghana.
“Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” would force suspected members of the LGBTQ community to be reported, CNN reports. Introduced in 2021, the bill encourages Ghanaian citizens to report suspected LGBTQ community members to local police, a part of the bill that is concerning for many people in the country.
If someone suspects that a citizen or someone they are with is gay, that person risk being attacked, kidnapped, or even lynched.
The controversial legislature criminalizes LGBTQ relationships and LGBTQ rights supporters, including journalists, as the bill instructs they are “promoting” these issues. The bill is in its final stages after going through a second reading in July 2023. The bill will become law soon enough unless the president decides to veto the bill.
Advocates are fearful, as some remember when the country had no issue with LGBTQ citizens. “Now, everything is turned upside down,” executive director and co-founder of gender activist group One Love Sisters Ghana, Lariba, said. “It’s not safe anywhere.”
Four men were allegedly beaten in April 2023 in Kumasi, one of the country’s largest cities, because the attackers assumed the men were gay, according to Rightify Ghana. Another man was stabbed multiple times in July 2023 after being lured to a location over a dating app because of his sexual orientation.
According to RFI, several of Ghana’s Members of Parliament and religious and traditional leaders have already supported the bill.
Ghana is following in the footsteps of other African nations, including Kenya and Uganda, which have severe LGBTQ+ laws. In March 2023, Uganda approved a bill that outlaws homosexuality with penalties, including death and life sentences in prison. Gay sex is punishable by at least 10 years in jail in Kenya.