Written by Staff Writer
This story is part of “A Desperate Tide” series by Frontier Analytics, a specialist analytics firm looking to shape global media and economic policy to combat extremism and intolerance.
It is already a global issue.
LGBT discrimination, repression and abuse have long been rife across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
A new report has found that this barbaric mistreatment is increasingly affecting the most popular sport in the world: soccer.
Now, a team from the US, the Public Religion Research Institute has identified a specific group of openly gay Ghanaians and Ghanaians who are Muslim.
Their findings add more fuel to an international debate on violence against gay people, and how they are being silenced by governments.
Back in their home nation of Ghana, a number of gay men and women have been arrested, and their homes ransacked. In some cases, their homes have been burned down — especially after one arrest became known online.
“Our sense is they really are having trouble finding their space in the country,” explains Neil Thraves, director of training and research at Frontier Analytics, which advises businesses on geopolitical and public policy issues.
“You’re talking about a political leader now who stands for marriage equality, it’s so unusual in Ghana. In previous periods of history, it would be more commonplace, but in his lifetime, he’s doing something that’s so unprecedented.”
Gay rights around the world
Frontier Analytics has been running a survey in Ghana since June, examining both “straight” and “gay” attitudes.
In August, the research team discovered that 11% of those questioned — around 7 in 10 — are either “somewhat” or “very” sympathetic to gay rights. In Ghana, that figure is twice as high as the country’s population.
The data also revealed there was a 13 percentage point increase in people believing that it was more acceptable in the developed world for two men to kiss, while a 6 percentage point increase in the country thought it more acceptable for two women to hug and kiss.
In the broader Diaspora community, 36% supported gay rights, with 30% strongly supportive.
A backdrop of wide open acceptance
These statistics come at a time of considerably more openness within the US and the wider world.
While President Donald Trump continues to be dogged by allegations of homophobia and inflexible stances on a number of key global issues, his administration has also been praised for its endorsement of gay rights in a variety of areas.
According to the US State Department, between 2009 and 2015, 42 states have ended discrimination against LGBT individuals, 25 states have enacted gay marriage laws, while 27 states have introduced employment non-discrimination protections.
Meanwhile, according to a report by the Movement for Black Lives, 38 states have adopted laws recognizing transgender rights. And in February 2016, Trump’s administration issued a memorandum expanding protections for same-sex couples, including on employment.