General News of Saturday, 7 March 2015
Posters of suspected lesbians at a slum in Ghana’s national capital have been printed and circulated as part of plans by homophobic residents to out the ladies.
The posters capture what appears to be a private selfie of a tattooed girl kissing her partner in the privacy of their bedroom.
The posters have flooded the shanty town of Teshie off the coast of Accra.
A day before they were printed and released, irate homophobic residents violently disrupted an alleged traditional ritual, as it was being performed by suspected lesbian twins for their sick mother.
The twins and their horde of girlfriends, all of whom the neighbours suspected were lesbians, got stoned and pelted with human faeces by an angry mob who claimed the alleged ritual ceremony was a guise for a lesbian birthday bash.
The homophobic residents have vowed to hunt down and bay for the blood of all lesbians, locally called ‘supi’ in the area.
The alleged lesbians told Starr News’ Papisdaff Abdullah that they reported to the police–days ahead of the alleged ritual ceremony–reports they had picked up within the community about plans by their neighbours to harm them on suspicion of intending to bury their alleged lesbian party under a fictitious ritual ceremony.
The attack came off nonetheless. One of the girls in the picture [name withheld] has lodged a complaint with the same Police Command over the posters. She claimed the pictures were secretly copied from her phone, on her blind side, as she was charging the device in the neighbourhood.
The Police are investigating the matter.
The attack on the suspected lesbians in Teshie follows similar attacks on suspects in the beginning of 2015. Just recently, a popular entertainment personality in Accra was beaten to a pulp after he was allegedly caught attempting to have sex with a fellow man within another town in the national capital.
Kinto, as the young man is popular called, was reportedly attacked at New Town in Accra after the finals between Ghana and Ivory Coast at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Prior to that incident, students of St Paul’s boys’ senior high school in the Volta region attempted lynching two colleagues they suspected were having gay sex in school.
In March 2012, an anti-gay vigilante group in another of Ghana’s slums, James Town, attacked nine suspected gays and lesbians. They vowed to do everything possible to eliminate homosexuals in the area. The group went on an anti-gay demonstration to warn gays and lesbians in the area of their intention to smoke them out by fair or foul means.
Ghana’s laws frown on sodomy and “unnatural carnal knowledge.” The Criminal Offences Act 29 of 1960 § 104, 3 Laws of Ghana (rev. ed. 2004), says a “person who has unnatural carnal knowledge of … another person of not less than sixteen years of age with the consent of that other person commits a misdemeanor,” an offence punishable on conviction by a maximum three-year prison term.
The Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act 30 of 1960, § 296, 3 Laws of Ghana (rev. ed. 2004), defines “Unnatural carnal knowledge” as involving “sexual intercourse with a person in an unnatural manner” and requires “the least degree of penetration.”
The criminal laws do not, however, specifically mention homosexuality as unnatural carnal knowledge, even though, some lawyers extend the definition to include homosexuality.
Ghana is not the only African country where gays are attacked by homophobic vigilante groups. Uganda has been suffering similar gay attacks, but the situation got to a head about two years ago following the passage of anti-gay laws in the East African country, according to a research report compiled by Sexual Minorities Uganda.
In its report, Sexual Minorities Uganda, gave details of how gays and lesbians are lynched, attacked by mobs, and in some cases having their homes burnt.
Additionally, gays and lesbians or those suspected to be of same-sex orientation are blackmailed, fired from their jobs, arrested and evicted from their homes, situations that force some of them to commit suicide.
The persecution, according to the report has led some gays and lesbians to flee to neighbouring Kenya and Rwanda for asylum. The report said in many cases tabloid newspapers published stories outing gays and lesbians who were subsequently disowned by their family or assaulted in the street, while several are facing prosecution.
The anti-homosexuality act (AHA) was ratified by the Ugandan parliament on 20 December 2013 and signed into force, in the face of international protests, by President Yoweri Museveni in late February.
Consensual sex between same-sex adults had been illegal in Uganda since British colonial rule. The new law, however, created additional crimes such as “aggravated homosexuality”, where a couple living in a committed same-sex relationship face a life sentence; “promotion of homosexuality”, which carries a five-year sentence; and “aiding and abetting homosexuality”, with a maximum sentence of seven years.
“The passing of AHA has given permission to a culture of extreme and violent homophobia whereby both state and non-state actors are free to persecute Uganda’s LGBTI people with impunity,” the report stated, according to the Guardian in a publication on Monday May 12, 2014.
The survey, according to the Guardian, recorded 162 incidents since the legislation was passed by parliament. By comparison, Sexual Minorities Uganda recorded only eight incidents in the rest of 2013 and 19 in the whole of 2012.
“[This] represents an increase of between 750% and 1,900% on previous years,” the report noted, “an increase which can only be explained by the passage of the AHA and the virulently homophobic atmosphere this has engendered.”
In four cases, men accused of being gay were reported to have been kidnapped and tortured. There were 29 incidents where the media “outed” individuals who were later subjected to further persecution.
A 17-year-old boy killed himself by swallowing rat poison and pills on 3 April because he felt his life had no further value, according to the survey.