Ghana uproar: 53 students ejected for homosexuality?

Front page of Ghana Herald.
Front page of Ghana Herald.

Journalists in Ghana are in an uproar over accounts of homosexuality at local secondary schools.

To the extent that their reports are true, more than 50 students have been dismissed for homosexual behavior.

The reports come on the heels of a controversy over the February appointment of human rights lawyer Nana Oye Lithur as Ghana’s Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection after she said that she supports “the rights of everybody, including homosexuals.”

According to multiple articles in news websites covering Ghana, 19 high school students in Kumasi, Ghana, were dismissed this month for “practicing homosexuality” at Opoku Ware Secondary High School,

The dismissals of those students, apparently male, came after recent reports of more than 34 girls being dismissed from the Wesley Girls Senior High School, also in Kumasi, for engaging in lesbianism.

Consensual homosexual activity between males over age 15 is a misdemeanor in Ghana, but same-sex relations between women is not a crime, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Radio XYZ Online reported about the latest 19 dismissals:

Opoku Ware School banner
Opoku Ware School banner

According to XYZ News’ Ashanti regional correspondent, Isaac Bediako Justice, four out of the 19 students are in their first year while 15 are second and final year students.

According to him, authorities of the school decided to keep the issue out of the public domain since the students were caught some three weeks ago.

A teacher who confirmed the story stated that parents of all the students involved were contacted before their children were expelled from the school.

The reports included the common but mistaken belief that African homosexuals try to recruit heterosexuals into their ranks.

The news articles stated that the former students “had managed to form a society on campus and regularly meet to discuss how to convince more students to practise the act.”

The Ghana Herald accompanied its report on the dismissal of 34 girl students with harsh, condemnatory language:

The Kumasi Wesley Girls’ Senior High School, popularly referred to as “K Wey Gey Hey”, one of the revered and leading second cycle females’ institutions in the country is on the brink of losing its social and moral standing in the Ghanaian society over the despicable act of lesbianism.

A month long investigations carried out by The Herald have established a worrying revelation that at the time religious groups and civil societies are waging a relentless war against same sex sexual intercourse, the students of the school established by the Methodist Church, have been indulging in the bestial and detestable act of lesbianism.

In a report about the same or perhaps a different incident, Modern Ghana said that 12 girls were removed from the Kumasi Wesley Girls Senior High School boarding house for lesbianism but could return as day students. It said school authorities wrote to parents about “letters written by members of the group to entice a fresh student.”

Exactly what happened remains unclear, especially since the Herald article quotes school Headmistress Mrs. Esi Oduro Asante as saying that  “nothing has happened in the school, you can go ahead to publish whatever you like about the school.”

Radio XYZ Online added to anti-gay worries by reporting that “some students at the Accra Girls and Osu Presbyterian Senior High Schools stated that the practice appears to be gaining popularity among students” there also.

Pink News reported in February on Lithur’s appointment:

Nana Oye Lithur
Nana Oye Lithur (Photo courtesy of Daily Guide)

On 1 February she was approved by the Appointments Committee despite the petitions of two pressure groups, Concerned Clergy Association of Ghana and the Ghana Social Moral Fabric.

They said she should not be appointed as she would use her government position to “promote homosexuality”.

When questioned by the Committee on the petitions, Ms Lithur said: “Mr Chairman, I have never said that homosexuality should be promoted or that I will promote homosexuality. I have never said that homosexuality should be legalised.”

She continued: “I stand for justice for everybody. And what I said was the rights of everybody, including homosexuals should be protected.”

A regional youth leader of the Progressive People’s Party said that her nomination was a “disgrace to many Ghanaians who have known her to be a staunch defender of homosexuals in the country”.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

10 Comments

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Will Europe pressure Ukraine to reject anti-gay bills?

How to enlist World Bank in fight for gay rights