Ghanaian LGBT+ rights centre launches defiant fundraiser to rebuild safe space amid homophobic attacks

Alex Kofi Donkor

A community centre for a fledgling LGBT+ rights group in Ghana gutted by a brutal raid has now launched a defiant fundraiser to regroup and rebuild.

LGBT+ Rights Ghana, one of the country’s top queer campaign groups, opened its office and safe space earlier this year in an event attended by European Union officials.

But within days, the office entered the radar of a small but powerful cadre of religious conservatives, plunging its future into uncertainty.

So-called “family values” organisers urged law enforcement to arrest its members and the president to punish them.

And they came close after an unlawful raid which, according to activists, included the building’s landlord, members of the press, police and National Security, the country’s domestic security force.

The raid forced the group to shutter its office as leaders now fear for their safety in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

Picking themselves up, LGBT+ Rights Ghana has mounted a GoFundMe to raise funds to rebuild the community centre robbed by homophobes.

“LGBT+ Rights Ghana has developed the ‘Community Support Fund Initiative’ to provide support and empower members of our beloved Ghanaian LGBT+ community who are financially constrained,” LGBT+ Rights Ghana wrote in its GoFundMe.

“The initiative is a long term support system intended to address the struggles of a fast-growing Ghana LGBT+community.”

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“We are hoping to build our very own community centre to continue in supporting the Ghanaian LGBT+ community,” it continued.

“There will be risks given the climate created from our first space, but our intentions are to expand our support network to include allies and those in Ghana who are not a part of our community directly but support.”

The crowd funder has raised $38,234 of its $100,000 target at the time of writing, with the cash raised going towards a “well-equipped facility with high-tech security installed”.

“Thank you so much for giving,” LGBT+ Rights Ghana tweeted.

“We appreciate every coin.”

The centre, the group explained, will serve six main purposes, which range from opening the first library dedicated to queer literature as well as a “health promotion space” to promote health education.

Alongside an office for the campaigners to work from, an “inclusion space” for local community engagement and an “activism centre” for users to plot legislative and social projects from will also be opened with the money raised.