#ReleaseThe21 is the movement calling for the release of arrested LGBTQ persons in Ghana

Releasethe21

In another turn of hostility towards the Ghanaian LGBTQ community, 21 queer persons were arrested last week in the city of Ho for holding a community empowerment activity, now charged and remanded for “unlawful assembly.” This is according to the Volta Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service. Stating the obvious, the police have been wielded as an apparatus to intimidate and terrorize vulnerable LGBTQ populations in Ghana.

The incident which happened last week Thursday has been met with outrage from LGBTQ activists and other interest groups. On social media, the hashtag #ReleaseThe21 has been pushed to draw awareness to this injustice while also advocating for the freedom of the arrested queer persons. The tweets from concerned queer Ghanaians have been nothing short of sad and dispiriting; the Ghanaian cultural and political atmosphere have collided to continue with the oppression of LGBTQ persons with impunity.

In March, 22 LGBTQ persons were arrested by the police reportedly for attending a ”lesbian wedding.” What ensued was LGBTQ Ghanaians changing their avatars on Twitter to red to protest. Before then, in February, an LGBTQ center in Ghana was shut down, consequently cutting off resources and community for LGBTQ Ghanaians. For those unaware about the marginalisation of queer persons in Ghana, this was the story that made it into the mainstream news cycle, even getting attention from celebrities like Idris Elba and Naomi Campbell.

As queer Ghanaians continue to seek justice and freedom, Ghana’s rancid homophobia is showing that it isn’t the democratic society that it has projected itself to be.

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