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Opinions of Monday, 11 October 2021

Columnist: Hardi Shahadu

Reflections on the homosexuality debates in Ghana

Homosexuality can be stopped when the factors that promote it are tackled Homosexuality can be stopped when the factors that promote it are tackled

In 2011, President Atta Mills of blessed memory openly rebuked the British government for its attempts to force homosexuality on the Ghanaian people. This open rebuke or hostility towards homosexuality by the Mills regime angered the British government which decided to withhold substantial aid to the country in response.

Mills successor, John Mahama, appeared rather muted over the subject for the years he served as President and he still seems not to have made any significant or noteworthy comment on the debate about the subject of homosexuality yet. Some have speculated that John Mahama has powerful friends among the bankrollers of the global homosexuality enterprise.

In 2017, just after he was sworn in as President, Nana Addo granted an interview to the international press in which he said homosexuality was bound to be legalised in Ghana in due course with the right amount of pressure. In just a year or two after this interview, the homosexual community opened an office in the capital city of Ghana, which was closed immediately as a result of public outcry.

Over the past few months, the Ghanaian media or public space has been buzzing with debates surrounding homosexuality in Ghana. There has been marshaling of powerful forces across religious and cultural fronts, expressing hate, opposition, and outrage against the acceptance of the practice in the country.

There is almost a mob reaction to the practice of homosexuality in Ghana, but there are also few and weaker voices arguing for the acceptance of the practice, mostly coming from outside the shores of the country.

Before the eighth parliament of Ghana, for deliberations in the next few days or weeks, is a citizens’ bill seeking to criminalise homosexuality in Ghana and to provide all necessary framework for dealing with the practice, including support and protection for homosexuals.

Whilst I strongly condemn homosexuality as one of the worse vices that can damage the moral fabric of society, I also see homosexuals not as willful criminals worthy of punishment but as victims of a wider societal decadence that cannot be remedied by laws.

What we need to remedy the problems of homosexuality and scores of related vices in society that are rising by the day, are not laws but an overhaul or reverse-engineering in the economic, social, and political values of our society.

When fall sets in, we must sweep the leaves of trees every day until the last leave has fallen off the last tree. But when we uproot all the trees at the onset of fall, we would never have to sweep for the purpose of cleaning tree leaves.

Therefore, we must not be fooled to think that laws against homosexuality will stop the practice in our dear Ghana. No amount of laws can stop homosexuality from penetrating deeper into all corners and segments of Ghanaian society. All human laws are reactionary, addressing the symptoms and not the root causes of the problems they are passed to solve.

Whenever a man loses that minimum natural happiness required to maintain his sanity, he would seek out that happiness in anything, lawful or unlawful, moral or immoral, vice or virtue. The current economic narcissism has set the world on the highest levels of economic, financial, social, and psychological traumas and stresses that have, and continue to rob many of the basic happiness required to maintain human sanity.

These traumas and stresses are affecting both the adult and youth segments of society as well as the male and female sexes. But the adult segment has better resilience and coping strategies compared to the young, just as the female has better resilience and coping strategies compared to the male.

Homosexuality today is practiced in an attempt to satisfy the desires of minimum happiness required for human sanity. For those on the demand side, it is just one of the many unconventional pathways to seek out happiness, recognition, importance, and self-expression -all of which are responsible for self-esteem to the individual, who must consider life worth living.

As such, modern-day homosexuals are also drug or substance abusers, users of all manner of mind-altering substances, pedophiles, and perverts of many shades, all in the name of seeking happiness that societal factors/forces have taken away from them. This is most especially for those with the courage to advertise, market, and engage in recruiting for the homosexuality enterprise.

For those on the supply side, homosexuality is just one of the many unconventional pathways to satisfy the desires of survival, wealth, class, recognition, importance, respect, and self-expression. These are also, and in the category of armed robbers, scammers, tricksters, gamblers, prostitutes, slay queens, etc.

Homosexuality may have its roots in attempts to satisfy the natural desires for sex as a result of prolonged lack of access to the opposite sex. This type of homosexuality was a result of the absence of opportunities for heterosexuality and not as a replacement for it, considered repulsive, despised, and hidden even by those engaged in it.

Today’s homosexuality is political, expressive, marketed, and heralded by those who engage in it. The two are never, have never been, and can never be the same.

Therefore, until society is ready to reverse the narcissistic economics that robs people of their self-worth, dignity, self-esteem, and happiness, no amount of laws that society passes to outlaw homosexuality and its attendant or related vices will stop the practice.

Until we reverse the trends or factors that force people into homosexuality, our laws against them will mean nothing and yield no results, just as our laws against substance abuse have yielded nothing for decades. But once we take away the factors that push people towards homosexuality, we would realise that we need no law to curb the practice because it would die naturally.

A child who finds no happiness in anything conventional in his/her society would practice any vice which promises to replace the lost happiness regardless of whether he or she is threatened with death or anything for that matter.

Therefore, parents must provide for the financial/economic needs of their children. But they must also understand that human happiness has more important variables than money, nice houses, expensive cars, phones, and schools, exclusive neighbourhoods, and clubs among other material splendors.

Our current economic and political systems have been producing reactive solutions to all human problems. Maybe it is time for retrospection. If we succeed through legislation in preventing people from expressing their desires for happiness through homosexuality, such desires would find expressions in scores of other vices both new and old, and in ways that we would never be able to outlaw through legislation.

Otherwise, the unexpressed desires may lead to scores of suicides or homicides inspired by hopelessness, depression, distress, and trauma. With our present economic, political, and social orders, we have never succeeded in solving one problem without creating multiple others.

But we have both the power and necessity to do better this time around, not just on homosexuality alone but also on the myriad of problems facing our society today. The worse of them being economic, political and social INEQUALITY.