Panji Anoff: Is he really gay or just a brave ally? And does it matter?

A renowned Ghanaian music producer has unleashed a fire-storm after he “came out” as gay on Facebook, but it’s unclear what his motivation was.

On Monday last week, Panji Anoff – who has over 25 year experience in the music industry and runs the Pidgen Music label  – wrote on his Facebook page:

“I wish to announce today that I am gay, so that all the people who don’t want a gay friend on facebook, can unfriend me now. I will miss you all, but I think it will make my facebook world a better place.”

Many responded with shock and anger and the announcement was quickly picked up by local media. According to Joy Online, the “startling declaration” was “to the dismay of his numerous fans”.

Others refused to believe that Anoff, who is married with children, is gay. As people commented on his page, Anoff would not acknowledge that the statement was a “joke” or untrue and slammed those with religious objections as hateful hypocrites.

“…surely what happens between two consenting adults is their own choice. And i believe that I must be free to make my own choices,” wrote Anoff.

It’s been speculated that Anoff made the powerful announcement as a way to show his support for personal liberties and LGBT rights.

Anoff later told Hitz FM: “I wrote that because I realise that as I was reading my Facebook page and I was coming up against a lot prejudice and I believe in freedom and I believe that a crime without a victim is not a crime.

“If I am here and I love my boyfriend I don’t see why it is a crime against any human being because who is the victim? This is something that two people have agreed on so who is the victim in this case? So I don’t see how it is a crime or I don’t see how I have made a wrong statement,” he added.

When asked if he is indeed gay, Anoff replied: “Yes, that is the statement I made.”

Ghana Web also asked Anoff if his Facebook “coming out” was simply a means to identify his real friends. He answered: “Does it make a difference?”

Gay sex is illegal in Ghana and carries a sentence of three years imprisonment. In May, it was reported that a group of Muslim youth had killed a man they accused of being gay.

A 2012 US Department of State Human Rights Report found that “LGBT persons faced widespread discrimination, as well as police harassment and extortion attempts” in Ghana.

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