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LGBTQ+ 'Worse Than COVID-19' Says Ghana's Speaker of Parliament 

Ghana

Ghana’s speaker of parliament enraged LGBTQ rights activists on Tuesday when he said the “LGBT+” pandemic is “worse than COVID-19.”

The speaker, Alban Bagbin, made the comments during a session where politicians filed a bill that would make the “promotion, advocacy, funding, and act of homosexuality in all forms” illegal, according to 76crimes.

“I can tell you that it is more than COVID-19, and I am happy that our beloved country, Ghana, is together in this,” Bagbin said. “The President has spoken, our traditional leaders have spoken, our religious leaders have spoken together, and Ghanaians have spoken with one voice, and we don’t want to do anything that has to do with LGBTQ activities.”

Activists have condemned the bill, which they say also promotes conversion therapy. Rights group Rightify Ghana wrote on Twitter that the bill will negatively impact LGBTQ Ghanaians when it comes to their health, housing, and employment.

“His statement lacks sympathy for those who have lost families and friends through COVID,” Rightify Ghana said, according to PinkNews. “Also, it shows a lack of empathy to the LGBT+ community in Ghana, who have for decades been targeted for violence, discrimination, and injustices.”

“Unlike COVID-19, [being] LGBT+ doesn’t harm or kill anyone and it doesn’t bring a country’s economy to its knees as Ghana’s economy struggles because of the pandemic,” the rights group told the outlet. “His comments were unfair, insensitive and he should apologize to the LGBT+ community.”

In June, 21 human rights activists were charged with “unlawful assembly” for attending a meeting to learn how to document and report human rights violations against LGBTQ+ people, according to Human Rights Watch.

“Ghana should ensure that human rights defenders work in an enabling environment that is free of stigma, reprisals, or criminal prosecution as a result of their human rights protection activities, including defenders working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues,” HRW researcher, Wendy Isaack, said in a statement at the time.

“The authorities should stop harassing human rights defenders for doing their work and should disavow efforts to advance legislation that would further entrench discrimination against LGBT people."  

Tags: World, Africa

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