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Journal article

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Cogent Social Sciences

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Cogent OA


religion, culture, same-sex sexuality, heterosexism, social integration, human rights, public opinion, Ghana


Religious and cultural values have been used as a yardstick to disregard the rights and freedoms of people in non-normative sexual relationships in many African countries. However, little is known about the extent to which this assertion is empirically buttressed by public opinion in the Kumasi Metropolis in Ghana. Employing in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion, this study sought public opinion on how religious and cultural precepts informed attitudes and perception on same-sex sexuality. Twenty people who were aged 19 to 60 years participated in the study. The phenomenon of same-sex sexuality was expressively distasteful to majority of participants on grounds of religious and cultural values. Same-sex sexuality was considered as something orchestrated by the “devil” and a cultural taboo. Participants either directly—being friends, or by inference—living in the same house, generally detested association with non-heterosexuals. Legitimisation of rights and freedoms for homosexuals was therefore not an option for majority of the participants except for those that had attained tertiary level education who demonstrated some level of tolerance despite their religious and cultural inclinations. Notwithstanding the religious and culturally founded despise for same-sex sexuality, some participants justified the need to embrace non-heterosexuals based on same values. These social institutions largely prohibit same-sex sexuality. However, they also offer opportunities to tactfully address discrimination and stigmatisation of sexual minorities within the confines of the prevailing value system in Kumasi.





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Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

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Recommended Citation

Amoah, P. A., & Gyasi, R. M. (2016). Social institutions and same-sex sexuality: Attitudes, perceptions and prospective rights and freedoms for non-heterosexuals. Cogent Social Sciences, 2, 1198219. doi: 10.1080/23311886.2016.1198219