|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
Homosexuality has engaged the attention of the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the prime heated debates in the world and particularly in Africa. Ghana has not been spared.
Homosexuality, in recent past, has engaged the attention of the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the prime heated debates in the world, Africa and indeed Ghana. It is important, however, to note that homosexuality is not the only problem facing our nation but this has, ostensibly, featured prominently in our media lately. This may be due to the weight it carries, that is involving the sexual orientation of individuals. This goes to confirm the fact that people are extremely concerned about social issues - issues affecting them. Being a social issue that is affecting the social, cultural and religious believes, it has triggered a myriad of controversies over homosexual right among society, religious, government and non-governmental organisations.
Consequently, Ghana has not been spared either as this contentious debate rages on. While the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Muslim Association, Parliament of Ghana and other organisations have condemned the act and described it as “evil,” advancing their arguments on the grounds that it does not conform to the cultural norms of the country, some Human Rights activists have constantly sprung to their defence.
Indeed, if Ghana abhors homosexuality and views it as an objectionable alien culture which does not conform to its moral standards, then there should be no room for it to thrive. This means that efforts to identify the sources, causes and find solutions to preclude it will be welcomed.
It is surprising to know that Senior High Schools (SHSs) in this country are constantly implicated as potential breeding grounds for this repugnant act.
Mr. Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi in an article which was published in Modern Ghana reveals that: "Homosexuality is not born, but made. I believe the brainwashing process begins in schools and colleges, where many people develop the desire to experiment the act of having sex with the same sex. In the case of the Ghanaian homosexuals, it's an acquired lifestyle which is mainly derived from boarding schools and the importation of the sexual trade by our open-door hospitality."
Another writer, Mr. Isaac Karikari for Ghana Liberty also makes is succinct that: "Second cycle schools have been major hubs for gay and lesbian acts. Senior high schools have been the real hot spots for gay and lesbian activities. It is in those places that gays and lesbians are really made. Underground gay and lesbian cells exist in many senior high schools."
It is in the light of this and other consideration that the government,Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE),and other organisations have offered themselves to go all out to form clubs and train teachers who will intend educate and sensitise students in these second cycle schools.
Direction from the Ministry of Education to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory within the national educational curriculum is a call in the right direction. Make no mistake;the conversion of same sex schools into mixed schools, as argued by some people, is tangential and any attempt to do so will come to nothing.
The panacea towards arresting this anomaly in our Senior High Schools will be to call on the government, CHASS and those who matter in education to consider abolishing the system of school father and school mother, which has been identified as one of the significant causes of homosexuality, in our boarding schools. School father and school mother is a system in Senior High Schools where seniors (second year to final year students) take on junior colleagues as their school sons and school daughters. While there is no laid down procedure for adoption in some schools (in this case the seniors ask the juniors out), other seniors in some schools have agreed that first year students who occupy their top beds automatically becomes their school sons or daughters. The vice versa is true where the seniors become the juniors’ school fathers or mothers. This is, sometimes, done against the volition of the first year students.
Like any other phenomenon, this system has two sides. School fathers or mothers encourage and advise their school sons and or daughters to learn, support them financially and with provisions and in some rear cases having a popular school father or mother saves you from being punished by other seniors.
The other side of the coin has assumed a sinister dimension which is a cause to worry. It contributes to social vices including alcoholism, drugs, indecent dressing, licentious behaviours and homosexuality (that is when their school fathers and or mothers are engaged in them). Schools sons and daughters have no option but to acquiesce and emulate these unruly behaviours exhibited by their so-called fathers or mothers because of fear of being victimised or punished. This goes to confirm a school of thought’s assertion that “one can be addicted through being enticed to practice it.”
When this happens most of these poor and susceptible students become addicted which they intend hand it over to the next generation.
This system has also become a fertile ground for the mushrooming of unhealthy sexual and intimate relationships with their colleagues (for mixed schools). It is true that there is no child without a father or mother. The school fathers find school mothers in sexual relationships and subsequently, their sons and daughters call themselves school brothers and school sisters. They are also left to their fate to start yet another relationship. The cycle continues when the sons and daughters move to the second year to become “fathers” and “mothers.” What is more worrying is the fact that some school authorities have consented to this system and have little or no knowledge about its concomitant effects.
In addition to the growing pains that all teenagers suffer, first years caught in the web of homosexuality suffer additionally at the hands of their classmates with an unpleasant school experience. This may plunge them into emotional, physical or psychological trauma not to talk about the health risks.
If Ghana frowns on homosexuality and considers it as alien to our country, we should not create the enabling environment for such a despicable western culture to flourish.
We will need all the other options on the table to make this a reality. If we do not take immediate and proactive approach to arrest this issue, the chain of succession will continue and it is not us who will face the consequences, but our children and generations to come. We must also not forget that the potential consequences are enormous and we cannot pay for them.