A new anti-LGBTQ+ bill has been proposed to the Ghana Parliament and if passed, queer people can face up to 10 years in jail.
The archaic legislation, also known as the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, was confirmed as real by political officials after the document leaked online Friday (24 July).
“The object of the bill is to provide for proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values; proscribe and related activities; proscribe propaganda of advocacy for or promotion of LGBTTQQIAAOP+ and related activities,” the draft stated.
Under the potential bill, LGBTQ+ people or individuals who “holds out” for the queer community can face a three to five-year prison sentence.
The legislation goes on to criminalise anyone providing medical care for transgender people or a person undergoing gender-affirming surgery.
Media companies would also be affected by the proposed bill. If any content is deemed as LGBTQ+ propaganda organisations can face legal penalties.
Back in March, Samuel Nartey George – a member of the parliament – took to Facebook and revealed plans to create the leaked anti-LGBTQ+ bill.
“We took our ‘fight’ to uphold our traditions, culture and religious beliefs to the next level,” he said.
“We have taken a stance and announced our intention to present a Private Members Bill to expressly criminalise and ban the advocacy and act of homosexuality in all its current and future forms.
“The proposed Bill would strengthen and augment existing legislation on the subject. We owe it to ourselves and the people of Ghana to uphold that which gives us our identity as a people.”
On Friday (23 July), George echoed his previous statements when he tweeted that “homosexuality is not a human right.”
He then proceeded to say that it was a sexual preference and that he’ll make sure the bill would pass through.
Since the document was released, LGBTQ+ activists and advocacy groups have expressed their concern over the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.
In an interview with the Guardian, journalist and activist Nana Ama Agyemang Asante said she was stunned by the bill.
“I have spent all my time as a journalist advocating for gay rights so I can’t believe that we have arrived at this point where they want to criminalise everything and everyone including the existence of allies, intersex and asexual folks,” she said.
Before the bill was leaked, Ghana has already showcased a long history of criminalising same-sex relationships.
In 2018, The Human Rights Watch issued a report that documented violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in Ghana.
The report revealed that homosexuality is banned under the Criminal Offences Act, however, the laws are believed to be a result of colonial legacy and are rarely enforced.