On Aug 6, 2017 The Winnipeg Free Press reported: You won’t find the LGBTQ “Ghana Pavilion” at a school gym or church hall. It’s not a place but a group of Ghanaian men wearing pink T-shirts that say Ghana Pavilion on the front with a call for “LGBTQ rights now!” on the back. Rather than performing a cultural dance at Folklorama, which started Sunday, they’re circulating a petition outside various pavilions to put pressure on Ghana to decriminalize homosexuality.
“We need help from the Canadian government,” said Sulemana Abdulai, a bisexual man who fled persecution in Ghana.
“It’s very bad,” said Abdulai, 42, who tried to hide his sexual orientation for decades. “When somebody finds out, that’s when problems started,” said the man who wants Canada to give him protection and pressure Ghana’s government to strike down its homophobic laws and respect LGBTQ rights. “They burned my shop,” said the former fashion designer who had to leave Ghana in 2015 because he was outed and under attack. He took off to South America where he began a months-long trek toward freedom in the U.S.Ghana’s treatment of LGBTQ men is so bad that Saalu Taahiru Osman has the scars to prove it. In August 2014, he was leaving a club in the capital Accra when he was jumped.
“These guys thought I was dating their brother.” One of the attackers had a knife and hacked at Osman, who was beaten, bloodied and left for dead. He was taken to hospital and treated but couldn’t report the attack to police because of his sexual orientation. In Ghana, gay sex is a crime and he would not be treated as a victim. He got a Mexican visa with a plan to seek refuge in the U.S.Neither Abdulai nor Osman — nor the six other members of the so-called Ghana Pavilion — were granted asylum by the U.S. Far from being a land of freedom where they could be themselves, as soon as they arrived they were handcuffed, shackled and put in detention jails for more than half a year. Without money for a lawyer or resources to make phone calls and obtain documents, they all appeared before judges and all were rejected and released to await their removal from the U.S. The threat of being sent back to Ghana, where in 2015 homophobes had tried to burn him out, terrified Abdulai. “I would be dead,” he said.