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Opinions of Monday, 11 October 2021

Columnist: Kwadwo Sakyiama

LGBTQI+ discussions within the context of our values

The value concept is key to understanding acceptable behaviuors within a geographic location The value concept is key to understanding acceptable behaviuors within a geographic location

The value concept is key to understanding acceptable behaviours within a geographic location.

Values will set boundaries for you, indicating what is deemed right and bad in the society in which you live. It will tell you what is permissible, what is not permissible, what is illegal, what is desirable, what is legitimate, and the procedures to penalise unacceptable behaviour.

The limits to which these values can be expressed are determined and confined to the sovereign nation within its geographical borders. Governments and laws are typically enacted to safeguard social values and to enforce the procedures of acceptance.

Where there are shared values amongst sovereign states or people, there are known and acceptable ways of expressing these values in a mutually acceptable manner. Values are not static. Education, religion, environment, and several other factors at one time or the other can influence the values that are projected strongly within a geographic region.

The level of tolerance is often determined by the weight of acceptance in society. Polygamy which is accepted in our traditional practices for instance is not recognised in America.

What pleases me may offend the sensibilities of a greater proportion of the society I belong to. The global values of the society I belong to are weightier than my individual preferences.

The preferences that I practice in the confines of my space with people who are comfortable with my practices, but which are offensive to the society I belong to cannot be subject to condemnation because it is within my space and does not offend anybody.

Our (Ghanaian) values are very clear. One of our very marketable/known values is our hospitality. We welcome and accept people of all ilk into our fold, but we are also capable of rejecting behaviours that do not conform to the global values of our society.

We are not naïve. Have never been. Will never be. We know what we want, how we want it, why we want it, and when we want it, except that we do not always show enough commitment towards achieving what we want.

What has been exhibited strongly in my view in the discourse surrounding the anti-LGBTQI+ bill is a greater commitment that we do not want to normalise the open practice of gay within our sovereignty. We know the practice goes on, we live and associate with gays in our communities, we study in the same classrooms with gays, we sleep in the same rooms with gays without harming them.

Your preference to be gay is your individual decision. What the greater Ghanaian society is settled on is, gay practices are against our collective values and value systems and therefore will not permit and accept the practice.
We are not a homophobic nation, and we shall not be just because a foreign media house chose to describe us as such.

Among the rubrics that are so common to anyone who has walked the hills of 'Kwabotwe' is, “a breach of common sense is a breach of school rules.”

May we be guided.