Details of a tyrannical anti-LGBTIQ+ bill proposed by lawmakers in Ghana have been published, confirming that it’s a breathtaking and unprecedented attack on the most basic of human rights.
The bill is possibly one of the most detailed and expansive attempts in the world to criminalise and oppress all sexual or gender minorities and any consensual relationship that is not heterosexual or monogamous in nature.
It applies to anyone who is lesbian; gay; bisexual; transgender; transsexual; asexual; queer; an ally; pansexual; questioning; intersex; or non-binary and equates them to paedophilia and bestiality.
“LGBTTQQIAAP+ activities threaten the concept of family and the associated value systems that are central to the social structure of all ethnic groups in Ghana,” states the bill in its lengthy introduction, which selectively picks elements of international law to justify its malicious bigotry.
While same-sex sex acts have been considered illegal under the country’s colonial-era Criminal Offences Act, falling under the broad term of “unnatural carnal knowledge”, the drafters of the new bill aim to very specifically outlaw any element of LGBTIQ+ sexuality.
With this in mind, the Promotion Of Proper Human Sexual Rights And Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 proposes jailing LGBTIQ+ people who engage in any form of sex for up five years.
It further outlaws gay adoption and same-sex marriage, as well as banning any transgender person from getting married.
The proposed legislation paints LGBTIQ+ people as predators who prey on the weak and vulnerable. “It is clear that economic inequalities and poverty create a fertile environment for promoters of LGBTTQQIAAP+ activities to take advantage of poor youth and lure them into these activities,” it states.
The bill thus makes it illegal to fund or form an LGBTIQ+ organisation or advocate for LGBTIQ+ rights in any way, even on social media, with up to ten years in prison.
The owner of the platform that publishes the material or information will also be “deemed to have committed the offence”. It’s a clause that may concern Twitter which recently announced it would open its first African office in Ghana, describing the country as a “champion for democracy” and “a supporter of free speech.”
In another noxious clause, the bill states that LGBTIQ+ people or activities must be reported to the police within seven days.
Providing any medical support for transgender people to affirm their gender identity will be made illegal, while intersex people could be forced to undergo “gender realignment” surgery.
On a more “positive” note, the bill urges Ghanaians to avoid “burning, lynching, molesting and visiting mayhem on suspected LGBTTQQIMP+ persons” and to instead report them to the authorities.
The group LGBT+ Rights Ghana has described the bill as “horrible by all standards – 36 pages of backward, regressive, sheer wickedness…”, adding “Ghana, welcome to [the] dark ages.”
MP Sam Nartey George, one of the lawmakers who drafted the bill, tweeted that the proposed law aims to tackle “perversion” and the “LGBTQI+ menace”.
He added defiantly: “Homosexuality is NOT a human right. It is a sexual preference. Preferences are not absolute or unregulated. We SHALL pass this Bill through.”
The renewed campaign to target LGBTIQ+ people was sparked by the opening of an LGBTIQ+ community centre in the capital Accra in January. Under pressure from religious leaders and the media, the centre was raided and shut down by security forces.
In May, 21 activists were arrested in the city of Ho by Ghanaian police for conducting paralegal training on the protection of the human rights of sexual minorities. After spending three weeks in jail, they were eventually granted bail.