For some time now, LGBTQ Ghanaians have been living in fear and isolation stemming from the constant attacks that Ghanaian political leaders have mounted against them in the media and physical spaces, colluding with religious figures and ”human rights” lawyers. This new wave of homophobia began when a LGBTQ center was raided and shut down in February. The center was established to cater specifically to LGBTQ Ghanaians and provide them with resources and community.
This was stripped away by the Ghanaian state, further leading to LGBTQ Ghanians suffering online homophobic abuse and vitriol. They have had to keep a low profile, some fleeing for safety. This dire situation has received global attention with celebrities like Idris Elba, Michaela Cole and Naomi Campbell showing support for the Ghanaian LGBTQ community in an open letter titled #GhanaSupportsEquality.
This week, the Ghanian police arrested 22 LGBTQ people at a gathering widely believed by the authorities to be a lesbian wedding. This continued human rights violation, from invasion of privacy, abuse, and unlawful detention, is part of the state-sanctioned homophobic violence Ghana has sustained.
But queer Ghanaians aren’t backing down. In a Twitter protest that will kick off today, queer Ghanaians and allies are coming together in solidarity by changing their profile pictures red. Social media has been valuable and instrumental for many social justice movements, and it has taken centerstage in this fight against homophobic oppression in Ghana. Using the hashtag #GhanaGetsBetter, the protest hopes to draw attention to the harsh realities of being LGBTQ in Ghana and also advocate against their continued oppression.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.