For the past weeks, Ghana has had to discuss the subject of LGBTQI and for most people the subject is a no-go area. Most Ghanaians don’t seem to be ready for the discussion which, if you ask me, has stayed with us for over centuries. We’re just not ready to transition. We are not ready to join the ‘leave no one behind’ campaign for Agenda 2030.
Silence has bottled up the LGBQTI community so much that now they want to break free. Most feel under attack and we must not pretend not to feel their pain. Are we suddenly surprised that they feel attacked and want an office where they can go to for advice and counselling or support?
As a researcher, writer and social entrepreneur, I have had the opportunity to interact with many of those who fall under this group. I must say they are some of the most harmless and creative people in our society and they may be closer to us than we may think.
The issue at stake now is whether they will be allowed to operate a safe space or community center here in Ghana. From my observation, the only safe space by which the community can engage freely is on social media, even though, that also poses the threat of cyberbullying.
If you must know, there are many restaurants, shops, boutiques, pubs, and great places that we all like to visit, which are owned by this group of people. They are our hairstylists, fashion designers, music and movie entertainers, chefs, chauffeurs, and what have you. Shutting down their office may seem like a good solution for now but it is not the final resort.
The earlier we begin to have an open mind to tolerate this group, the better for us as a nation. Truth is, most of them, for the fear of stereotype and abuse, are fleeing to seek greener pastures elsewhere where they contribute a great quota to the economies of those countries.
Let’s not leave them behind in our quest for national growth and development. We need them to advance our already unstable economies. As for the office (safe spaces), it may interest you to know that most already exist with international and human rights organisations.
So well… next topic!