Homophobic ‘family values’ crusade demands Ghanaian president arrest LGBT+ activists

Moses Foh-Amoaning in a purple shirt and grey blazer talking to the camera

After one of Ghana‘s few LGBT+ rights groups built a safe space for queer citizens, a so-called ‘family values’ organisation is championing its closure and calling for its leaders to be arrested.

On 31 January, LGBT+ Rights Ghana opened its new offices in an event attended by European Union delegates. Ghana and LGBT+ Pride flags adorned the red-bricked building, umbrellas and attendees’ t-shirts and face masks.

But the safe space has faced attacks from the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Value, a coalition of various faith leaders and officials that once drew international outrage for running a camp that “treated for homosexuality”.

Local news outlet 76 Crimes reported that Moses Foh-Amoaning, the coalition’s executive secretary, has called on Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo, the government’s diplomacy department and law enforcement to “investigate” the office, shut it down and “arrest and prosecute” LGBT+ Rights Ghana members.

In Ghana, homosexuality is illegal and anti-LGBT+ sentiment is common, spouted by lawmakers and religious leaders and codified by its colonial-era laws.

Queer residents have escaped being burned alive by vigilantes, robbed, abused and blackmailed by Grindr catfishers and the country’s chief imam has blamed the coronavirus on “transgender and lesbianism” and called LGBT+ people “demonic“.

Carrying on this attitude, Foh-Amoaning said of the newly-opened safe space: “The presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the inspector general of police have every right to investigate that office to close it down immediately and arrest and prosecute those people involved in it.”

Refusing to back down, LGBT+ Rights Ghana sent out a statement on 11 February.

“LGBT+ Rights Ghana is a movement at the forefront of championing the rights and freedoms of all LGBT+ persons in the country,” it read.

“Since our establishment in 2018, our organization has grown, strengthened, and is poised to carry out the aim of striving for a Ghana where all persons, including LGBT+people, are treated equally.”

The location of its office, members stressed, is being withheld “for the physical safety of its members”.

The group hit out against the “negative reporting riddled with false narrations in the Ghanaian media” and Foh-Amoaning’s “plan to sow discord and incite violence against an oppressed minority group like ours”.

It added he is using the “media to wage a crusade against our new community space”.

“LGBT+ Rights Ghana has an irrevocable right to exist as a recognised entity and movement entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under Article 21 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution,” it continued.

“We have the right as Ghanaians to live in peace, join groups, be protected from harm and have our privacy respected.

“We are no longer allowing the shadows of colonial hate and the abhorrent homophobia decide our future.”