Opinions Thu, 24 May 2007

On Gays and Lesbians in Ghana: Final Concern

A couple of days ago, I took the huge risk of injecting myself into the arena of Ghanaian online discourse. I was moved by the rage and intolerance of our community and the discrimination of our government against Ghanaians who share alternate sexual orientations and felt that maybe an intelligent discussion of the issue might predispose us to showing some love to this unfortunate group of people and give back to them their natural rights that we have long trampled upon.

I was initially reluctant to write the piece because a friend had advised it would be a waste of my time and the backlash would be sickening. I decided however to wager a bet on the sober-mindedness of the average reader of my article. Of course after the fact I was dead wrong. I am however amazed at the rage and hatred that was directed towards me by many readers of the article. The first attack was to label me as gay and thus worthy of being lynched. Some even went to the extent of telling me how much I am a disgrace to my family. Others threatened that I should never come back to Ghana otherwise I will be killed. And my only crime is that I am advocating for tolerance towards a harmless minority group in Ghana. Well for the records, I am very straight but also proud of my convictions. Indeed I don't have to be gay to feel the pain of being discriminated against. As a black man I know enough about discrimination and when I see us discriminate against our very own brothers and sisters, I think I have a duty to speak up.

Some readers of my article went to the extent of extracting my personal information from my school’s website and gave it out to people to come and attack me. I had also received so many hate calls and emails all in the attempt to cower and prevent me from offering a viewpoint that runs contrary to what these haters believe. Well, the joke really is not on me. My heart only bleeds for Ghana – a country that I love dearly! I know the majority of Ghanaians are a reasonable people. The only problem is that many of these sober-minded Ghanaians are so disgusted by the low-key discussions on our websites so much so that they won’t even stop to offer their opinions on any issues. Do we want a country where people will self-censor themselves because they are afraid of attack from some loose vipers around? How do we ever hope to develop as a people if we cannot engage in civil debate on issues of public concern?

I have done my duty and I accept my fate. It is the price we pay for liberty. Abraham Lincoln, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Che Guevara and many more great men died for the cause of freedom and liberty. If I get hated by my own countrymen for preaching tolerance and Love, then so be it. I however will like to thank the few brave individuals who stood to be counted on the forum. I am particularly proud of ‘Lola’ who held her own in the midst of the intimidation and name-calling. Good luck to you guys and Thank you all.

Theo Yakah
Wake Forest University
North Carolina

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Yakah, Theo