Actors Idris Elba and Michaela Coel, and supermodel Naomi Campbell joined forces with different influential names in vogue, movie and media to specific their solidarity with the LGBTQ “family” in an open letter tagged #GhanaSupportsEquality on Monday.
It comes after the recently-opened community center in Accra, named ‘LGBT+ Rights Ghana,’ was raided. Head of the center, Alex Kofi Donkor, advised NCS final Thursday that he was involved for his security.
Among the letter’s 67 signatories are British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Netflix’s chief advertising officer Bozoma Saint John and Virgil Abloh, chief government officer at Off White and inventive director at Louis Vuitton.
“To our Ghanaian LGBTQIA+ family: We see you and we hear you. We are in awe of your strength, your bravery and your audacity to be true to who you are even when it is dangerous to do so,” the letter reads.
“You are loved, you are important and you deserve a safe place to gather in your shared experience.”
Referencing the raid on the center, the celebrities stated that they had watched occasions unfold in latest weeks with “profound concern.”
“It is unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe,” the letter added.
The celebrities, who vowed to remain abreast of developments in regards to the LGBTQ community in Ghana, additionally promised to guard them utilizing their shared energy and affect.
“Neither the raid on February 24, nor any other acts of intimidation have the power to break your indomitable spirits. It only emboldens all of us to act with more urgency and intention,” the letter continued.
They then known as on Akufo-Addo, in addition to political and cultural leaders, to “engage in a meaningful and purposeful dialogue” with the community in order to “create a pathway for allyship, protection and support.”
LGBTQ center raid
A spokeswoman for Ghana Police Service (GPS), advised NCS on Saturday that the opening of the center was at variance with the nation’s homosexual legal guidelines and prevalent opinions on gay actions in Ghana.
“To the extent that Ghana law criminalize certain actions promoted by LGBTQI+, and the Ghanaian society largely abhors same, no-one expects any individual or group to set up such an office or center,” Superintendent Sheilla Abayie-Buckman, the GPS Director of Public Affairs, stated.
Abayie-Buckman stated safety forces stormed the leased not-for-profit center following a criticism by the property proprietor, who feared that his constructing “was under threat of being burnt for alleged illegal purposes.”
“Our search showed that it was being used for or in relation to the business of LGBTQ. With no person in the house, it was locked up for the occupants to report to the police to answer questions,” she added.
Abayie-Buckman advised NCS that no arrests have been made in connection to the police’s findings.
“Nobody has also owned up yet. The place is under the watch of the police,” she stated.
Responding as to if the occupants of the LGBTQ center will likely be arrested in the event that they confirmed up for questioning, the police spokeswoman stated: “It depends on what the investigation would have established.”
In an announcement despatched to NCS Monday, the LGBT+ Rights Ghana group stated: “We are law abiding citizens of Ghana who have not committed any illegalities. Thus, once our safety is guaranteed, we are willing to honor the invitation of the police for questioning.”
The group stated the center was established to support the weak LGBTQ community in Ghana, which has endured years of discrimination and persecution.
“On January 31st, we opened a safe space to support Ghanaian LGBTQI+ persons who are abused, discriminated against, or neglected by their families,” the assertion stated. “Soon after this, we received threats and attacks from various quarters.”
“Traditional leaders in Kwabenya, the area our office is situated in, threatened to burn down the office,” it added.
The group stated that not one of the individuals who made these threats have been arrested by the police.
“Instead, on February 24, police officials, a representative of our landlord, traditional leaders, and some other persons entered our office without our consent. Sensing imminent danger, Alex Kofi Donkor, our Executive Director left the premises for a safe house.”