A journalist from Ghana just came out through a live interview!
Ignatius Annor is a journalist with Euronews English. Annor recently appeared in a live panel discussion for JoyNews. In front of the panel, moderator Ayisha Ibrahim fielded thoughts on the topic of LGBTQ people within the country. Ibrahim did so because of a current issue surrounding one of the few LGBTQ centers being challenged for defying “family values.”
LGBT+ Rights Ghana recently held a fundraiser to open a new office. That office was then challenged by the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values (NCPHSRFV). While LGBT+ Rights Ghana has not backed down to the opposition, the group of religious leaders is calling for the government to get involved.
In response to the topic, Annor not only expressed that he is a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights but also a member of the community.
“This is going to be the very first time that I’m using your medium to say that not only am I an activist for the rights of African sexual minorities, what you would call the LGBTQI community, but I am gay,” he revealed. “It is the truth that I have accepted, it is the truth that I will live by.”
Annor noted that he earlier denied his sexual orientation. He did so partly out of self-preservation while living in the capital city of Accra.
“Obviously, I denied it because I was afraid of losing my job, I was working at an incredible television station in Accra and also for the fear of what would happen to me personally,” he said.
But eventually, the journalist couldn’t deny his truth and decided to come out. He then shared the story of his coming out to his mother. Unfortunately, she did not take the moment kindly.
“I remember the following day, she came to say, ‘I have not been able to sleep because of what you told me’ and I could feel her pain because she thought I was going to put my life in danger for what others are facing particularly being a TV person and being suspected of being gay and not openly saying it,” Annor explained before sharing that he later told his mother she could forget his confession.
“I have lived a life of lies; I have lived a double life and no human being deserves to do that and to have accepted that truth and live the freedom that I live today, I am a very content person today.”
In Ghana, it is currently illegal to engage in homosexuality. Despite the country having a fast history with homosexuality, such as the Dahomey Kingdom’s royal wives called eunuchs, the country currently has an anti-gay sex law. Section 104 of the Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960 criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual acts between men. Specifically, the section bans “unnatural carnal knowledge” and considers it a misdemeanor worthy of possible imprisonment for up to three years.
The country is also still largely ruled by Christian rhetoric that has led to many anti-gay vigilante acts. LGBTQ residents have been the victims of abuse, hate crimes, and even murder due to these religious beliefs.
As such, Ignatius Annor’s coming out on a live panel was powerful, impactful, and brave. We need more people like him.