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LGBTQ+ bill: Ghana in stalemate as President withholds assent

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Man displays during a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer (LGBTQ) rally

Ghana is currently in a stalemate over the recent anti-LGBTQ+ bill as President Nana Akufo-Addo has withheld his assent to the bill.

President Akufo-Addo said he will not assent to the anti-gay bill until the Supreme Court rules over its constitutionality or otherwise.

He had, however, previously said that he would sign it if that is the wish of majority of Ghanaians.

Ghanaian lawmakers, last week, passed the anti-LGBTQ+ bill, proposing a jail term of up to three years for anyone identifying as LGBTQ+.

The bill was tagged “The Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill“.

The legislators, drawn across Ghana’s major political parties, also unanimously proposed five-years jail for anyone promoting LGBTQ+ activities.

What is LGBTQ?

LGBTQ is an acronym that represents a diverse range of sexualities and gender identities including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer (LGBTQ).

Each letter stands for:

L (Lesbian)

A lesbian is a woman or woman-aligned person who is attracted to only people of the same or similar gender.

G (Gay)

Gay is usually used to refer to men or men-aligned individuals who are attracted to people of the same or similar gender. Lesbians, however, can also be referred to as gay.

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana in a state of quandary over LGBTQ+

B (Bisexual)

Bisexual individuals are attracted to all genders. It’s essential to recognize bisexual people, as they have sometimes been misunderstood as being gay.

T (Transgender)

Transgender individuals have a gender identity different from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Q (Queer or Questioning)

Queer is an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or heterosexual. However, it is also considered a slur.

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Questioning refers to people unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Other forms of LGBTQ+ are:

I (Intersex)

Intersex describes individuals born with variations of sex characteristics that don’t fit binary definitions of male or female bodies.

A (Asexual)

Asexual individuals experience little or no sexual attraction, although they may still experience romantic attraction.

+ (Plus)

This represents all gender identities and sexual orientations not specifically covered by the other letters.

Why is President Akufo-Addo skeptical of anti-gay bill?

Diaspora Digital Media learnt that Akufo-Addo is skeptical of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill over the possible consequences on the country and its economy.

The finance ministry had said that Ghana could lose a total of $3.8 billion (£3 billion) in World Bank funding over the next five to six years if the bill becomes law.

In view of the global stance on LGBTQ+, the president seems poised to assure the diplomatic community that Ghana will uphold human rights.

According to him, the country will not ‘turn her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance’.

He further assured that “no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned”.

In the meantime, a lawyer, Mr. Richard Dela Sky, has challenged the LGBTQ+ bill at the country’s Supreme Court.

According to Mr. Sky, there were not enough lawmakers in the chamber when the vote took place.

He insisted that there was no quorum when the LGBTQ+ bill was passed.

Citing parliamentary rules, he noted that at least half of the 275 lawmakers must be present and vote for a bill to be passed and for the president to assent.

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The bill has, meanwhile, met condemnation of western countries, including United Kingdom and USA as regressive.

Gay sex is already a crime in Ghana and carries a three-year prison sentence.


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