You see, celebrating pride may be an awesome way to show support, but in Ghana, being gay is still not something you can come out to say with pride.
Pride. This word has particularly become one of the most used in the world after the SCOTUS ruling on homosexual marriage. If you’re wondering, SCOTUS is the Supreme Court of The United States. Keyword, United States.
However, it seems the SCOTUS ruling was for everyone. Worldwide, homophobes and homosexuals alike engaged in conversations, numerous conversations. Whereas the “haters” saw it as a dark day in human history, gays and their supporting straight friends went congratulating each other.
But the heck, rainbow-striped profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter are not really an issue, but do Ghanaians actually claim to be supporting homosexuality? You see, celebrating pride may be an awesome way to show support, but in Ghana, being gay is still not something you can come out to say with pride.
A model and friend, Yawa Tsagli, went on a rant about how Africans were “praying so much for another’s country”. And trust me, she is not the only one. This weekend if you opened your Facebook and Twitter, there’s a pretty good chance that the rainbow colors are all over your screen. (Okay, maybe not all over, but somewhere at least). On Facebook, people are changing profile pictures with the pride rainbow thanks to a pretty awesome tool, http://facebook.com/celebratepride.
On Twitter, once you tweet “pride” or “#LoveWins”, Twitter algorithms play a neat trick with your text, adding a rainbow flag or heart emoji to your text.
Very predictably, the SCOTUS ruling was greeted with joy by the LBGT community and their supporters in the US. Marriage was no longer a union “man and woman but between love and love”, to borrow words from Frank Ocean. And whereas it was certainly a moment to celebrate gay pride in the United State, many in Ghana too had changed their profile pictures, to show support.
But of course, gay marriage is so distant a dream in Ghana, as our own government has expressed a well-rooted desire to never legalize homosexuality in the country. The act itself is supposedly a crime, not that I have seen any act that criminalizes the act.
To put it more direct yet mildly, the US and GH are miles apart when it comes to the stand on homosexuality, but from rainbow colored profile pictures, “homophiles” and “homophobic” post, you’d think the decision will have an equal impact in Ghana too.
As someone pointed out on Facebook, it was strange to see so many people changing their profile pictures because the truth was/is that the ruling has no impact on Ghana. Certainly a trendy “social cause”, but one that would do nothing to the well-hidden LBGT community in our country. Others pointed out that even people who had previously cracked grossly homophobic jokes are just going in on the trend.
But then, “why go senselessly mad on someone else’s joyous occasion”, trendy or not, it was surprising however to see people change their profile pictures. For one, they were not people who I thought even cared about the LBGT community, let alone be the kind to rejoice at a judgment like this. Ironically, some of my friends who are gay have not changed their pictures or even in the slightest way, rejoiced at this ruling, others have and that’s perfectly understandable.
You see, with a cause like this, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and think we’ve done our share by changing Facebook profile pictures and posting some witty tweets. But in a country where being gay means you can still go to jail, ‘social media trends’ are a rather shallow way to show support.
The SCOTUS ruling needs to be hailed and there’s nothing wrong in celebrating gay pride. But we can change Facebook profile pictures and go hard against homophobes with words, but we would only still be celebrating “someone else’s joyous occasion”. We need to take a stand on whether we are ready to call for the decriminalization of “love and love” relationships in our country, otherwise that profile picture in all its rainbowed-glory means nothing but a brief passing.