In my work as a lawyer, I have come across several heartbreaking stories of injustice: battered wives, abused children, innocent people incarcerated. But one story that has stuck with me is the story of a lesbian who was beaten to death in Accra. The media hardly covered her story and no one spoke up for her after she was gone. And yet, she too, was someone’s child.
Last week, as calls were made to jail and kill LGBTs (lesbians, gays etc.), I remembered her story. And, I wondered why people are so obsessed with LGBTs? LGBTs are not the reason why youth are hawking goods in our streets, why school children do not have chairs or why many cannot afford one square meal a day. How exactly does 2 grown women or men being attracted to each other affect the price of kenkey? People keep panicking about ‘gay marriage.’ Which gay person in Ghana has ever asked to get married?
It is sad that discussions about LGBTs are often riddled with myths. People insist that sexual orientation is a choice. But, if it is a choice, why would anyone choose to be gay in Africa where they can be killed? No one wakes up in the morning and decides to be attracted to the opposite sex or the same sex for that matter. It is something that comes naturally to everyone by the time they hit puberty. I have known since I was a child that I am bisexual. People claim LGBTs are ‘recruited’ and yet no one recruited me. People allege LGBTs are paid. So why am I struggling to finance my studies? On the contrary, writing openly about these issues may endanger my career and life but I must speak up for people like me who are persecuted.
People insist that homosexuality is alien to our culture and yet we have always had gays, lesbians etc. among us. We called them names like kojobesia. Centuries ago, anthropologists who visited Africa discovered homosexuals living here. And yet we all lived together in harmony. So why the sudden urgency to kill off our own brothers and sisters? Armed robbers rob people, Paedophiles rape children but how does a relationship between 2 mature, consenting adults harm you personally? Christianity, Islam, English and suits are alien to African culture. Yet people who love all these insist on stigmatizing homosexuals because of culture. Historically, some African societies used to kill albinos, twins and the disabled. Shall we revert to that also because of culture?