Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Ghana: Somewhere over the rainbow

The following works were produced and written by Mark S. Luckie and published by UC Berkeley's School of Journalism. I have not obtained copyright permission to reproduce the works here, but have instead chosen to post the links to the various stories. The stories were developed on a reporting trip to Ghana by Mr Luckie during the 50th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain. While there, he discovered the legal and social persecution gays face, how some men, both gay and straight, are driven to gay prostitution for the money and the Ghanaian government's failure to address the problem of HIV/AIDS within the gay community.

(Please click on each of the various titles appearing below to visit the webpage on which the story appears).

Homosexuality is considered evil and disgraceful by many Ghanaians and any public display of affection or accusation of being homosexual could mean swift arrest and jail time under Ghanaian law.

Ghanaians are known for their enterprising spirit and using their resources to sustain themselves financially. For some men, that means selling the only resource they have - their bodies.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana and many in the country blame gay people for the spread of HIV/AIDS, yet there is no government agency that directly targets the prevention of the disease within the gay community.

A look at the HIV/AIDS prevention advertisements in Ghana and how the advertisements lead many gay men and women to believe that HIV/AIDS is a heterosexual disease.

Author's Note: I think that the works make for some great reading and starkly enunciate the reality, without being judgemental.

1 comment:

CodLiverOil said...

The article is very good, it is very informative on how stigmatised being gay/lesbian or transgendered (GLBT) people face a challenging existence.

Ultimately, the people are Ghanaians and should be able to express their right to funding in any well functioning democracy. Although Ghana is a good democracy by African standards, it is evidently not that good. People who have the right, still are intimidated into keeping quiet and foregoing what is naturally their right to tender a bid for funding.

Those non-governmental organisations, that do exist are religiously based and are biased to those who are receptive of their message, ie conversion. Those who expect treatment with no strings attached (which is how it should be) are discriminated against.

This is not unique to Ghana, but Ghana does typify what characterises much of the contient in this regard.

Another point, to which I have no answer to (at the moment). Is the use of foreign aid to pressure governments. My instinctive reaction, would be no way. After all the struggles to get independence, to support that would be a backward step.

The other side of the coin, is that quiet diplomacy has no impact on African governments. Why should they change, if they can ignore the message and continue receiving the money?

What is more important saving the lives of GLBT people? Or respecting national sovereignty? I believe dialogue with the local LGBT groups on the way forward is vital to this. Until we get an answer from them, I really have not arrived at any opinion