In this Spotlight, I had the privilege of speaking with Ghanaian LGBTQ rights activist Alex Kofi Donkor. Alex Kofi Donkor is the founder and current director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a movement of mostly young LGBTQ persons who are championing a safe, inclusive and free society for LGBTQ persons in Ghana. In this interview, we discussed how he became involved with LGBTQ activism, the emergence of a dangerous and draconian bill currently being considered by Ghana's legislature which would attack the fundamental rights of LGBTQ people in Ghana, and the role of American evangelicals in spreading homophobia and transphobia in Africa.
As a queer person, the LGBTQ rights struggle is a cause I care deeply about and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to speak with an LGBTQ rights activist working in a much more hostile environment, facing a society far less accepting than America in 2022. Speaking from personal experience, I know the homophobia I have experienced is nothing compared to the homophobia queer people in Ghana are enduring. I was struck by Alex Kofi Donkor's passion and eloquence but what struck me the most was his tenacity. He has faced death threats. The community center he created in January 2021 was shut down by the police. If the draconian anti-LGBTQ law we discussed is passed by Ghana's parliament, he could face up to 15 years in prison. This young and fiercely intelligent activist is quite literally risking his life and liberty to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people in Ghana, and I am in awe of his courage and persistence. I was deeply moved by his statement that his activism isn't for himself, but for posterity, for the future generations of queer and trans Ghanaians. Reading about the history of the gay rights struggle in the US, I marveled at the incredible courage of the activists who came before me, struggling for LGBTQ rights in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Alex Kofi Donkor is a hero just as those activists were, and I hope that decades from now young queer and trans Ghanaians will open their history textbooks, see his name, and be as inspired by his activism as I am. I hope this Spotlight reminds us that the fight for LGBTQ rights is truly a global struggle and that we cannot be satisfied until every LGBTQ person on Earth is able to live with freedom and equality.
0:00 Introducing Alex
0:50 How Alex Became Involved in Activism
5:36 Ghana's Anti-LGBTQ Bill
26:08 Coming Out & Visibility
31:10 What Keeps Alex Going
Follow Alex Kofi Donkor on Twitter- https://twitter.com/ahuoden
Follow LGBT+ Rights Ghana on Twitter- https://twitter.com/lgbtrightsghana
A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support.