ACCRA, Ghana – There has been a lot of talk and broadcast on the state of homosexuality in Ghana. The talk has largely focused on the legal status of homosexuals in Ghana and in support of their stance, those who believe it shouldn’t be legalized rely largely on culture and religion to communicate their disgust for the practice.
On the other hand, also stands a smaller number of people-largely human rights activist and gays themselves- who have called for the legalization of homosexuality and their point largely rests on the law in general and human rights in particular. I won’t go into the details of either the debates as I find it as completely misplaced and missing the point. From both sides, the debate is misinformed and not worthy of consideration.
My opinion is that the debate is a false debate since there is nothing being debated. In the first place, it seems illogical to demand of the legalization or otherwise of a practice which is not illegal or made illegal by any law in Ghana. There is currently no law in Ghana that bans homosexuality per se.
Section 104 which many people rely on to suggest a criminalization of homosexuality to my understanding only bans anal sex and other forms of penetrative sex which in the view of the law is ‘unnatural’. To reduce an interpretation of that law and subsequently an application of it to homosexuals alone would and does suggest that homosexuality is just about anal sex and indeed anal sex is the exclusive preserve of homosexuals. That is wrong.
Research has shown rather conclusively that anal-penile relationships are not the conclusive preserve of homosexuals and indeed occur in relatively the same proportion or even more sometimes in heterosexual relationships as it does in homosexual relationships. This rather narrow interpretation of section 104 of the Criminal And Other Offenses Act to suggest an outlaw of homosexuality exposes the ignorance-whether willed or genuine-of those persons who have described homosexuality as illegal in Ghana concerning homosexuality and the law.
If the issue is, like it is in many parts the world a discussion on whether or not, homosexual marriages should be recognized per our laws then that would be a whole with its own set of facts which we can view in its own light.
‘Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions primarily to men, to women, or to both sexes. It also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.’1
Homosexuality per the APA, is the is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual activity between members of the same sex or gender. Per that settled definition it can be seen that no mention is made of anal sex . It is actually the feeling that constitutes homosexuality and not the penetrative expression of that feeling. In that regards, a homosexual is not someone who has anal sex with a member of his own sex but rather someone who feels sexually or romantically attracted to a member of his-her sex. Sexual attraction and romantic attraction can be expressed and is expressed in several other ways besides penetrative sex.
It is common, and in my view rightly, to assume that the basis of love has always been sexual attraction or romantic attraction. It is further common and in my view right to hold that love, although constituted oft times on sexual attraction or romantic attraction isn’t synonymous with sex neither are relationships contracts of commoner sex. Whereas sex plays a role in relationships, the picture must not be painted that without sex there can be no relationships.
I believe strongly that it is possible for there to be relationships where no sex of penetrative nature takes place. I do not think it takes extraordinary reasoning of whatever kind or imagination to assume that not all sexual contact involves penetrative sex even between homosexuals and the law if applicable at all applies as much to heterosexuals who engage in anal sex and other forms of ‘unnatural carnal knowledge’ as homosexuals who engage in same.
Since we cannot declare the hetrosexual relationships are banned in Ghana because some aspect(s) of it like anal sex, which the law clearly considers as unnatural within the context of Section 104, is banned; so can it not, and should not be suggested,except we wish to explore further heights of intellectual dishonesty which often clouds our judgement,that section 104 on it’s own bans or makes criminal homosexuality in Ghana.
Just as we cannot hold the totality of heterosexual relationships as disgusting because portions and aspects of it are, no matter what lens we look at it though, so should we not make any unusual pronouncements on homosexuality simply because aspects of it are disgusting or appear so.
“Those who believe it [Homosexuality] shouldn’t be legalized rely largely on culture and religion to communicate their disgust for the practice.”
What else is there to rely on? As if Culture and our Religions are not who we are! This writer is disillusioned by trying to separate the culture and 7 religion from the people.
Culture and our religious institutions are who we are – without them, we are nothing. So it behooves us to judge ourselves by our own standards and our own principles – i.e our culture, mores, taboos, and religious principles.
That is not to say we condemn anything [like homosexuality]. But our culture gives us the lense to looking into the world and its myriad issues. We need to tackle homosexuality from our perspectives as Ghanaians and as Africans! and only then, can we improve, advance as a people.