Guest Post: ‘Red, Yellow, Green and a Rainbow Star’
Written by Dodzi K. Aveh (he/him)
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[Image description: Text ‘Red, Yellow, Green and a Rainbow Star’ on a navy blue background with a lilac paintbrush stroke highlighted segment]
I wasn’t always an ally. In fact I wasn’t always Pro-LGBTQ++. Most of us in Ghana are socialised to be very homophobic. Homosexuality is put up there with murder as part of the big sins that are an abomination to the Christian god, Yahweh, in the Ghanaian Christian context.
I had to personally learn, unlearn and relearn to become the person I am today, who is still learning, unlearning and relearning. At the time this was happening, I found myself at a place in this journey called life, where I was constantly and actively seeking truth, whatever it may be, trying to understand the point of existence. This process included me questioning everything hoping to understand the why before accepting it, and Ghana is absolutely not the place for this.
This country is actually a neocolonial matrix, there isn’t any form of independence, there isn’t freedom or justice, it is all a façade, and everything you see going wrong is planned to go exactly so. For instance Ghana is still indirectly ruled by its former colonial masters, the laws in our Constitution were written of the colonial laws, the West controls the economy, indirect rule happening today is the same way it was first introduced to west Africa by the British when they were initially colonising the area. They ruled the people through their Chiefs as they do now with our Presidents.
Neocolonialism in Ghana works hand in hand with classism, religion and bigotry. They are the code that is used to run the simulation in this matrix. The Elite Ruling Class is made up of certain specific families that run the country through both political parties. These families are descendants of the families that made up the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) party that were in bed with the colonial government during the pre-independence era, which Dr Kwame Nkrumah, broke away from in his fight for Ghana's independence. Those same families are descendant from Ghanaian royal families and merchant families that helped the imperial powers colonise the country centuries ago.
Middleclass Ghanaians are the most blinded group of people in this equation, they’re like Nkrumah refusing to break away from the UGCC. They are sitting ducks one disaster away from poverty yet they still package themselves as upper-class hoping that will pass for a ticket to facilitate their climb up the ladder in this rigged game of snakes and ladders.
The lower classes are entirely clueless, surviving, praying and being content with just finding a meagre daily bread. We see this every election year with how Ghanaian politicians are able to sway the masses to vote for them by gifting them food items.
Homophobia in Ghana is propagated by two things, religion and the neocolonial society. The two work hand in hand. Religion is literally used as the opium of the masses here to sedate them and have them stay locked in the simulation; where we are manipulated into accepting things as they are without challenging the system, even when it threatens our well-being. To be honest, I don’t blame the mass of religious people for being as naïve as they are, and just accepting anything that happens in this country as God's plan.
As an irreligious young Ghanaian in his early 20s, I have realised that surviving this country sober is impossible, and religion acts as an easily accessible drug to take the mind of the elephant in the room, which at the moment is literally an elephant syphoning our resources.
Ghana presents itself as a very weird paradox, we are quick to scream at certain things saying it is not part of “awa korcha” and yet hold on to the religion that demonised our culture and murdered our ancestors. Christianity is one of the big distractions in this country used to keep the people from revolting. The religion constantly preaching pain and suffering will be rewarded in the afterlife while pastors and politicians loot and get rich now. And in election years, pastors accept offerings from politicians and present them to their congregation as God’s chosen leader for the people.
Homophobia works in such a way that, queerness is labelled by the church and postcolonial Ghanaian society as the most disgusting, most detestable thing in Ghana. Some people blame queer people for everything wrong in this country and not neocolonialism. They believe that god is punishing Ghana because of queerfolk and not because our leaders are corrupt and actively destroying the environment and the people. I have heard homophobic, cishet women say they will rather be raped by a man than become a lesbian, and thought processes like this empower corrective rape, and other very abusive homophobic acts.
Homophobia survives in Ghana mostly through myths. Most Ghanaians still believe queerness is so unnatural that even animals don’t do it. But the truth is all species of animals have queers, and humans are the only ones who practice religions, this should be a clue as to which is unnatural.
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As it stands now our government is pushing an anti-LGBT advocacy bill that criminalises anything it will deem as LGTBT advocacy, while we don’t have stable electricity, certain communities don’t have clean, easily-accessible drinking water, and our health system can’t handle emergencies.
The bill Labelled, ‘The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill’ seeks to Criminalize all LGBTQQIAAP++ people in Ghana including allies, subjecting them to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. It also criminalise the use of sex toys, oral and anal sex, even among heterosexual folk. It prescribes conversion therapy for all queerfolk; prescribes “corrective surgery” for all intersex persons; bans certain activities labelled as “LGBT activities”, these include, people of the same gender showing affection to each other in public, crossdressing, even when creatives do it as a performance. The Bill also bans depiction of LGBT persons in the media, even if it is for research persons. Doctors and psychologists who provide any services to queerfolk will be arrested. And any heterosexual person who does not report queerfolk within their vicinity will be arrested.
And the Ghana Christian council (a body meant to govern and regulate Christian religion in Ghana but now serves as an advisory board to the government), is backing them, the masses are backing them, too because homophobia is what they have in common; and queerfolk serve as a visible group for them to target all their hate perpetuated by this system at.
Our only way through this is collective organising and mass education on queerness. Ghanaians and Ghanaian diasporans, please talk to your family members and friends, talk to the old folks and remind them of the queerness that has always been a part of us. Your first duty is to listen to queerfolk and create safe spaces for them.
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Dodzi K. Aveh, is a Ghanaian creative who creates under the pseudonym ‘Who Is Deydzi’. He tells stories using film, theatre, spokenword poetry and hip-hop. Dodzi uses his art to advocate for a safer environment for everyone. When he’s not creating art, he’s working on the family farm or taking care of his puppies and kittens.
Follow Dodzi on Twitter: @WhoIsDeydzi and Instagram: @whoisdeydzi
‘She Dares to Say’ is an email newsletter by Almaz Ohene, a Creative Copywriter, Freelance Journalist and Accidental Sexpert.
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Interesting perspective. We all weren’t allies before though.