A group of over 65 British celebrities and politicians released a statement calling for Ghana’s president to engage with the country’s LGBTQ+ population.
In an open letter published on social media yesterday, the group, which includes actor Idris Elba and supermodel Naomi Campbell, is mostly made up of Brits of Ghanaian heritage. Elba’s mother was from Ghana.
The open letter, addressed to “our Ghanaian LGBTQIA+ family,” offers support and solidarity. “We see you and we hear you,” it reads. “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. You are loved, you are important and you deserve a safe place to gather in your shared experience.”
“It is unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe,” the letter continues, “Even though at present you might be feeling alone and cornered, we want to assure you that we are here. We are watching and listening and we will use our collective power to shield you and raise you up.”
Celebrities like Elba and Campbell amplified the letter by posting it to their social media.
The celebrities specifically mention a raid on LGBT+ Rights Ghana’s headquarters on February 24 by national security forces in Accra that forced the group to shut down its offices. It was shuttered just three weeks after it had opened, and faced protests from church groups, politicians, and antigay groups.
“As prominent and powerful advocates for this great country,” the letter continues,” we are beseeching His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and political/cultural leaders to reach out and engage in a meaningful and purposeful dialogue with the LGBTQIA+ community leaders to create a pathway for allyship, protection and support.”
In addition, Ghana criminalizes same-sex activity between men and LGBTQ+ residents are often subjected to scorn, ridicule, or violence.
Others who signed the letter include Sir David Adjaye, Vic Mensa, Boris Kodjoe, and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.