Despite some steps towards decriminalisation, legislative protections for LGBTIQ+ people in Sub-Saharan Africa remain extremely weak, with same-sex relations still prohibited outright in 32 countries. In Ghana, consensual same-sex relationships among men are illegal carrying a penalty of up to three years imprisonment. Although same-sex relationship among women remain legal, lesbian, bisexual, trans and non-binary women face stigma, discrimination, insecurity, violence, homelessness (as a result of eviction by parents or relatives) and lack of access to programmes that would address their particular needs. Recent controversies around LGBTIQ+ issues in the country have further decreased tolerance and increased overt homophobic attitudes. According to a survey by Afrobarometer, only 7.17% of people stated that they would “not mind” having LGBTIQ+ people as neighbours. A nexus of homophobic political and religious leaders appears focused on intensifying repression, persecution and mandate conversion therapies.
Founded in 2017, One Love Sisters (OLS) is a small non-profit organisation working to create and maintain a safe, inclusive and equitably environment for Muslim LBQT persons in Ghana. It was set up to provide support and empower LBQT persons whose lives are framed by Islam and who face issues such as forced marriages, sexual violence and particularly ‘corrective rape,’ discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Key activities include training on sexual and reproductive health and rights; documentation and reporting on gender-based violence and capacity building.
EMpower's 1st grant to One Love Sisters will help set up a hotline to support survivors of sexual violence, particularly LBTQ individuals. Aside from providing support to an estimated 200 people, OLS will use the hotline as a reporting and data collection mechanism which will inform their advocacy work. OLS will also organise a training for young people on LBTQ sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as two sessions to help young people deal with their trauma.
Funded Since: 2022
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