“We are afraid of snitches”

In Ghana, where homosexual activity is already illegal and punishable by a three-year prison term, homophobia is not unusual, but the LGBTQ+ community is currently experiencing fear. A new bill that was approved by MPs last week will punish someone for just identifying as LGBTQ+ with a maximum three-year jail sentence, and for supporting their activities with a five-year sentence. Mensah, whose name has been altered to protect his identity, says the BBC, “A relative told me if this bill is passed, any chance he gets, he is going to poison me because I am an abomination to the family.”


The young man, who appears to be in his late teens, is dressed all in black and is obviously afraid. He says, “Even in my own neighborhood, I am afraid that someone could turn on me. Living here is going to be really difficult.” After having a falling out with his family, he has been living in Accra, the capital of Ghana, for some time with understanding friends. The size of the LGBTQ+ population in Ghana, a historically conservative and religious country, is unknown, however members of the group tend to support one another when faced with discrimination. Mensah claims that his mother began taking him to churches for prayer in the hopes that he would change after learning a few years ago that he was drawn to guys.


“My religious pals were the only friends who were permitted to see me. I was required to sit in the back whenever we had meetings, study the Bible nonstop, and pray.” He claims that he was virtually abandoned at home because the rest of the family avoided him and he could not stand their looks. “They felt I would have influence on my cousins and the little ones.” Then, in 2020, Mensah was banished from his church due to his sexual orientation after it was decided that the Bible studies and prayers had failed. In an effort to shame him, his family effectively outed him to their larger social circle in response to his outrage.

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