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The national flag of Ghana. It is a horizontal triband of red, yellow, and green. In the middle there is a solid black star.

(Photo by Engin Akyurt)

Last week, on February 28, Ghana’s parliament unanimously passed a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill that has sparked intense debate and drawn international condemnations. This anti-LGBTQ+ bill, officially known as the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” was passed to prohibit the promotion of, advocacy for, and support of LGBTQ+ rights and also to impose harsh penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for individuals and organizations found to be engaging in such activities. 

This bill is one of the harshest of its kind in Africa and, if signed into law by the President, it could see people who “hold out as a lesbian, a gay, a transgender, a transexual, a queer, a pansexual, an ally, a non-binary or any other sociocultural notion of sex or sexual relationship that is contrary to the sociocultural notions of male and female or the relationship between male and female” sentenced to up to three years imprisonment.

Those found guilty of the promotion, support, or sponsorship of LGBTQ+ activities could also face a prison sentence of up to five years. For the LGBTQ+ community in Ghana, the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill represents a significant setback in their fight for equality and acceptance. Already marginalized and stigmatized within Ghanaian society, LGBTQ+ individuals now face heightened vulnerability and fear of persecution under the new legislation. The criminalization of LGBTQ+ activities not only restricts their ability to express their identities but also forces them into hiding, further isolating them from support networks and essential services.

The passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill has triggered international backlash and diplomatic fallout, with several countries and human rights organizations condemning Ghana’s actions. Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has condemned the passage of the bill, saying, “The bill broadens the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people—simply for being who they are. I call for the bill not to become law. I urge the Ghanaian government to take steps to ensure everyone can live free from violence, stigma, and discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized.”

Foreign governments and international bodies have called on Ghana to respect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and repeal the discriminatory legislation. Additionally, there are concerns that the passage of the bill could strain diplomatic relations and impact Ghana’s standing on the global stage, further isolating the country and undermining its reputation as a beacon of democracy and human rights in Africa.

In the face of this concerning development, there is an urgent need for advocacy and solidarity to promote equality and inclusion in Ghanaian society. Civil society organizations, human rights activists, and allies must continue to speak out against discrimination and demand the repeal of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill. Additionally, there is a critical need for education and awareness-raising initiatives to challenge misconceptions and stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ issues in Ghana. Only through collective action and unwavering commitment to human rights can we strive toward a future where all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with dignity, respect, and equality.




Lawrence Chijioke
Lawrence Chijioke
Lawrence Chijioke is a medical student, visual artist, and writer based in Lagos State, Nigeria. He loves everything about the queer community and is actively involved in fighting homophobia against queer Africans through his art works and write-ups. In his leisure time, he plays the violin and listens to classical music.