The Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana [GALAG] feels compelled to issue this statement in the face of mounting misinformation being made public in both print and electronic media about an alleged two-day international gay conference, supposedly coming on in Accra International Conference Centre and in Koforidua, respectively.
We wish to clarify several issues here:(VIDEO)
- The Gay & Lesbian Association of Ghana (GALAG) has never discussed, nor have we ever organized, an international Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender [LGBT] conference in Ghana. Since our Executive President appeared in some electronic media, this conference appears to have been the brainchild of someone’s vivid imagination. As an association, we are not prepared to organize such a conference anywhere in Ghana, let alone any part of the universe, at this point.
- We have no hand in – nor the faintest clue about – any such conference to be organized by any group anywhere; neither do we know of – nor have we heard of – any such event. All we know is what is being peddled irresponsibly in the media, apparently oblivious to the journalistic ethical code which calls for confirming such a potentially controversial event with at least two or three reliable sources before putting it on air or in print media as truth.
- GALAG is like any other non-governmental association representing a population that exercises its constitutional rights, votes in elections, pays our taxes, cares for our parents, children, siblings, and other family members, working dutifully at our jobs and, therefore, contributing our fair share to national growth.
- We wish to state categorically that GALAG does not promote homosexuality, but rather seeks the sexual well-being of same-gender-loving people, their families, and friends, as well as the general population at large. LGBT individuals and their loved ones are frequently rejected and have no place to turn. GALAG tries to fill that void.
- We work hard to promote the well-being and health of same-gender-loving people trying to survive in an otherwise hostile environment.
- We have no clear estimate of the number of GLBT in Ghana, but initial studies here have shown that about half of Ghanaian men who have sex with other men are also having sex with women, creating a potential ‘crossover’ for HIV/STDs between the gay and heterosexual populations here. As for sheer numbers, it is safe to say that about 10% of the Ghanaian population – or approximately 2 million Ghanaians – have been involved in same-sex sexual relationships. During the past year, through brief research GALAG has participated in, nearly 2,000 of these have been identified in Accra and Tema alone. Each of these men & women contributes positively to Ghanaian life.
- We have peer educators who do outreach in the LGBT community to educate vulnerable community members on such issues as safer sexual practices, accessing user-friendly health and social services, and generally discussing their well-being. This is only necessary because many of them cannot receive the nurturing they deserve from their families, their churches, their mosques, their schools, or other social institutions which so readily provide needed support to heterosexual individuals.
- Homosexuality has been with humans from the beginning of time. Some of our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, or other family members may be involved in same-gender-loving and need the same support we would easily offer them if they were heterosexual. Those who would quote the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, or any other such religious document need only remember that all religions of the world have a variation on: “judge not, lest ye be judged.” As for Leviticus and Corinthians, we need only look deeper to see that, as a culture, we are not willing to condone slavery, to stone women in red dresses, to reject men who shave their beards or people who eat shellfish, all of which are also in the Bible. So why should we single out this one population, LGBT, for our anger and hatred, based on scriptures? Hatred is not a good family value for our children to be taught.
- Homosexuality touches every home, every workplace, every church, and every mosque in Ghana. We hope that all caring and intelligent Ghanaians would never be influenced or moved to hatred by lies from some unknown hate-mongering group or individuals trying to stir up controversy by fraudulently claiming to organize a gay conference in the name of this association.
- Media personnel and the public need to be careful stereotyping homosexuality in the newspapers, on radio, and on TV. We have found lots of the comments and reactions to homosexuality to be weightless and prove the general public’s ignorance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. We are everywhere – albeit many of us ‘closeted’ because of anti-gay sentiment, harassment, and violence when we should instead be protected by the constitution to be able to achieve our potential as any other Ghanaian should.