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LGBTI community in Ghana calls for a referendum on gay rights

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTI) Community in Ghana has put out a proposition to Parliament to consider opening a referendum for the public to vote in order to decide whether LGBTI rights should be recognized in the country. This comes at a time when the Ambassador from the USA has espoused more understanding of LGBTI people and issues in a local television interview. Spokesperson for the LGBTI Community in Ghana, Philcollins Agbedanu Kröger hailed US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson for 'enlightening the Ghanaian populace' on the state of the group in the country on GhanaWeb’s TV show, 21 Minutes with KKB: Ambassador Jackson said though it was a tough subject to discuss and was met with a lot of opposition initially in the United States, people, leaders have to accept and eventually embraced LGBTI people with time after better appreciating the issues and the science. The ambassador explained homosexuality is not a choice and the science blacks that up.

"This is a long process and it was a long process in my country. Homosexual marriage has only become law in recent years and prior to that when I was growing up, nobody talked about homosexuality. Everyone who was gay suffered enormous discrimination and that has changed in the United States because people have a better understanding of the science and issues. I think that as Ghanaians gain a greater understanding of the science and issues, they’ll also be very tolerant because this is a very tolerant country and this is one area where Ghana’s tolerance seems very limited”." The Ambassador hinted in the interview that “there are far more gays in Ghana than Ghanaians realise, but because of societal attitudes they keep their sexuality very private”. In an interview with BBC Reporter Favour Nunoo, the LGBTI advocates noted that they are poised to prove there more Ghanaians who are gay than anticipated, most of whom are hiding following fear of arrest, medical abuse, discrimination and torture, thus affirming Mr. Jackson’s observation. Kröger accused Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Oquaye of being unfair toward LGBTI Ghanians when the Speaker spoke against legalizing homosexuality, noting: “… he’s not being fair to the gay and lesbian community in Ghana because when it comes to human rights, one person does not speak for the whole nation. Gay and lesbian rights legalization is not an individual issue… he can bring it on board for them to discuss it in Parliament, he can also call for a referendum and then people will vote,”


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