Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director General of
the Ghana AIDS Commission

There’s been an outcry over a statement by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) that warns of “the dangers of being involved in sex with other men”.

The Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (CAHG) said that it is deeply concerned about the commission’s statement, which was reported by local media in June, but only recently brought to the coalition’s attention.

In the statement, Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director General of GAC, said that “the MSM (Men having Sex with Men) situation in Ghana is an issue that we cannot run away from”.

She goes on to say that “it is important that all hands are on deck to reduce the number of young people who are lured into MSM” and she further called on “all religious leaders, traditional authorities, educationist, parents and NGOs working with young people to get involved in educating males on the dangers of being involved in sex with other men”.

The coalition said that the statement was followed by a press conference by a member of the Ghana AIDS Commission who is also a member of the Christian Council of Ghana.

“Those in attendance called for everyone to fight against homosexual individuals and groups, plus defeat any member of parliament supportive of homosexuals and homosexuality in the next election,” said CAHG.

The coalition noted that traditional leaders have also recently condemned homosexuality and have called for arrest of any people who engage in same-gender sex.

In June, Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations was reported to be investigating “the growing rate of homosexuality” in parts of the country.

The following month, Ghana’s president, John Evans Atta Mills, was quoted as saying that the “government would institute measures to check the menace of homosexuality and lesbianism that were gradually gaining ground within the social fabric of the country”. Mills later denied making the comments.

CAHG, which noted that over 90% of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Ghana to date are heterosexual, said that it believes the statement made by the Ghana AIDS Commission set the stage for these and other recent homophobic attacks against gay and lesbian people.

“We know of no members of the LGBT community who attempt to lure young people into homosexual behaviour. We believe adults having sex with minors is wrong, whether the perpetrator be heterosexual or homosexual. Such behaviour must always be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said CAHG.

It described the statement as “inflammatory” and claimed that it has given license to gay-bashing and other forms of discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

“We call on the GAC to clearly state how its position has evolved on homosexuality in Ghana to give the public and the LGBT community a clear idea on their position,” said the coalition.

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