Opinion: Ghana is not, and will not, serve as a gateway to the legitimisation of LGBTQI+ practices

File photo | Picture: New York Times

It has come to our notice that the Pan African wing of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is scheduled to hold its fifth biennial regional conference in Accra, Ghana, hosted by the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana (CEPEHRG). The theme for the conference is ‘SANKOFA: LOOKING BACK TO OUR ROOTS – RECLAIMING OUR RIGHTS’. The gaping disconnect between the chosen theme and our African and Ghanaian reality, is best underscored by one erudite professor who captured our collective sentiments this way: “I don’t understand the connection between LGBTQI, Africa and Sankofa! Let’s protest!”

The choice of Ghana as host of the said Pan African ILGA on the back of the failed initial attempt by the Ministry of Education to introduce Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) into our schools and communities from the tender age of four and upwards cannot be a mere coincidence.

Furthermore, the recent decision by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to revise the earlier draft guidelines on CSE, taking out the community-based programme from the national guidelines without a clear indication as to which Ministry/ Department/ Government Agency will be in charge of monitoring any community-based sexual education programmes is frightening in the light of these developments (we shall come to this issue at another time).

It is becoming clear that there is, potentially, a conspiracy by some local and foreign actors to find a way to get CSE into the Ghanaian education system, at all costs. It is evident that their intention is to subtly influence social norms and views relating to sexuality in the country and ultimately to nudge our acceptance of sexual orientations and practices such as those espoused by the LGBTQI community. But not on our watch!

File photo. Credit SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo. Credit SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

We want to voice our strong opposition to the hosting of the said Pan Africa-ILGA conference in Ghana with its associated deceptive theme and abuse of our cherished African traditional Sankofa symbol, and we call on Government to immediately take actions to prevent this event from disturbing our peace and stability and disingenuously re-defining our history.

Here’s why.


First of all, from basic science, human beings are biologically binary, i.e. male and female. The science is clear. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ,14th February, 2020) article on the topic “NO SEX SPECTRUM,” Thomas Williams (Ph.D.) cites the work of biologists Colin M. Wright and Emma N. Hilton which asserts that “in humans, reproductive anatomy is unambiguously male or female and constitutes more than 99.98% of all births.” They further assert that “No third type of sex cell exists in humans and therefore there is no sex ‘spectrum’ or additional sexes beyond male and female.” This latter fact is a key element of CSE, which seeks to confuse our children by suggesting that there are different types of sexes or genders and you could be a male trapped in a female body and vise versa, and to provide a foundation for people to accept practices of the LGBTQI community as normal.

In addition, the American College of Pediatricians agreed in 2016 that the exceptionally rare disorders of sex development (DSD) are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norms and are rightly recognised as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex, they conclude. We make the point that identifying as a particular sex or taking on a certain gender role does not and cannot change one’s biologically determined sex, whether XY (male) or XX (female). ‘Intersex’ is not a third sex. Changes in hormonal levels in humans do not constitute a change in sex. Having said that, even if we think of gender as the internalised perception of maleness or femaleness (e.g. “I am a man/ woman/ non-binary”), the scientific evidence suggests it is biological in origin. If we are to Sankofa, then it is to go back to the basics of true science. Please note that basic biology has not changed over the centuries nor has what we were taught by our basic biology teachers, experts or textbooks changed.


Secondly, we find the co-option of our cherished Ghanaian traditional symbol SANKOFA (and its symbolism) by ILGA as disingenuous, deceptive and unacceptable. LGBTQI has never been part of our celebrated history or tradition as a Ghanaian people, not in the modern Republic of Ghana or during the great ancient Ghana Empire (7-13th century). Consequently, we cannot, and dare not, accept the direct linkage this ILGA group is making to something that is so non-Ghanaian in general and un-Akan in particular! They are forcibly linking an ancient Ghanaian cultural paradigm, value and symbol with a postmodern secular humanist ideology that has no root in science, traditional culture or the faiths of the Ghanaian people. It is a false narrative, an abuse of our traditional African symbol and must be called out for what it is and condemned in no uncertain terms.

The LGBTQI global community has unique notoriety with “symbol capture” of sacred covenantal totems. See what they have done with the Christian covenantal symbol of the rainbow. We will not allow Sankofa to be the next victim. The tradition and culture of our forebears abhors anything that does not promote marriage between male and female. Yes, our pagan ancestors were polygamous, but generally promoted heterosexual norms and saw others as deviants. In fact, many traditional rulers sanctioned, excommunicated, and banished entire families, when such acts came to light in particular households. Our Christian ancestors – and it is only right and fair to claim this heritage that 71.2% (GSS, 2012) of the Ghanaian populace professes – were both strictly heterosexual and monogamists. Therefore, there is nothing SANKOFA about LGBTQI in Ghana and for that matter Africa as a whole. If we are going back to our roots, then it is to promote heterosexual relationships. We, therefore, call on the National Folklore Board, Ghana’s statutory body with the primary aim to protect, promote and preserve the set of traditional beliefs and customs of the Ghanaian people in general and the Akan ethnic group in this case in particular, to act decisively and swiftly to stop this symbol theft and corruption of our identity as Ghanaians.


Section 104 of the Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960 contains provisions criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activities between adults. Under Section 104 (1)(b) “unnatural carnal knowledge” with consent is considered a misdemeanor. “Unnatural carnal knowledge” is defined as “sexual intercourse with a person in an unnatural manner or with an animal” {Section 104(2), of the Criminal Code).  Therefore, how can ILGA legally publicise and hold a conference in Ghana when their professed activities are criminal according to our laws, let alone claim that they have rights in a land where our law frowns on such acts.

Clearly, the conference is potentially aiding and abetting the crime/ offence of “unnatural carnal knowledge”. Conspiracy to commit a crime, is a crime in itself and therefore we call upon the Attorney General, the Ghana Police Service, and its Criminal Investigative Department to act on the information provided. The hosting of an ILGA gathering in a country whose legal framework does not permit the paradigms, values and practices being promoted by ILGA is therefore not only a reproach to our cultural heritage but an affront to the constitution and laws of the Republic of Ghana. This perhaps is a ploy to ‘get a foot in so we steal a mile’ and to strongly advocate for LGBTQI practices to be legalised in Ghana. Our laws do not support the behaviours the planned event will propagate and therefore on that basis, as law abiding citizens, we are strongly expressing our opposition to the said conference happening in Ghana. 

Evidently to connect Sankofa with LGBTQI rights, amounts to intellectual dishonesty and a misappropriation of a well-known symbol protected by Ghana’s trademark and intellectual property laws. It is crucial to note that our laws seek to promote and protect the customs of the land, with respect to sexuality, sexual orientation, family values and parental guidance. These customs and values are critical and we cannot afford to lose our rich heritage on the altar of modernity. Then again it is important to highlight that with 99% of the population not subscribing to LGBTQI practice we expect that our government will act to prevent any criminality taking place and to stop the abuse and ridicule of our customs and symbols.

To this end, we seek to invoke our right to establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at the national and international levels as mandated by Article 6 of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief which Ghana has ratified. All human beings are made in the likeness and image of God and so are LGBTQI proponents and members. God loves them, and we love them too. The fact is that they should not begin to foist their practices and beliefs on the rest of us.


We do not want our children, youth or adults to be confused with sexuality concepts that have no grounding in science, history, culture, faith or law. We will not accept this global phenomenon that some have creatively called “homo-tyranny.” We expect that the Government of Ghana will prevent such an illegality from happening and consequently, we hereby call on:

– The Historical Society of Ghana to set the records straight on the false claims being made by the conference organisers;

– The National Folklore Board under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to perform her statutory function as per the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690) to administer, register, promote and protect Ghanaian expressions of folklore on behalf of the President and for the people of Ghana; and to prevent this abuse of our traditional symbols;

– The Attorney General’s Department, Police Service and its Investigative units to investigate and bring the conspirators behind this potentially criminal event to book;

– Our traditional rulers who are custodians of the culture to stand with other faith-based groups and reject this corruption entirely;

– Civil society to stand with the people and defend what defines us as Ghanaians and ensure that the culture is not corrupted;

– All people of faith – particularly traditionalists, Muslims and Christians – to arise and let the world boldly know that neither the concept nor gathering is acceptable;

– The young people of this great nation, “Arise Ghana youth for your country, the nation demands your devotion”;

– All other government ministries, departments and agencies of the Republic of Ghana to stand with the people of the land and reject this conference and the alien concepts they stand for; and

– The Judiciary to tighten the laws (both criminal and customary) to protect our rich heritage on sexuality and sexual orientation and the rights therein.

God bless our homeland Ghana, and make our nation great and strong,

Bold to defend forever, the cause of Freedom and of Right.

Fill our hearts with true humility, make us cherish fearless honesty,

and HELP US TO RESIST OPPRESSORS’ RULE, with all our will and might forevermore!

Source: Advocates for Christ Ghana (A4CG) | admin@advocates4christgh.com

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