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Ghanaian lawyer who evaded LGBTQ+ question made Gender Minister

Ghana has picked a lawyer who avoided answering a question about the rights of LGBTQ citizens as its new Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection amid a heated debate in the country over issues of equality.

The nomination of Sarah Adwoa Safo, 39, was approved in a vote Thursday, alongside 12 other ministerial appointees of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Safo had evaded a lawmaker’s question on sexual minorities’ right to state protection during a February 17 Parliament confirmation hearing. “The issue of LGBT is an issue that, when mentioned, creates some controversy,” she said. “The issue of its criminality is non-negotiable,” said Safo, citing a law that criminalizes gay sex.

Mahama Ayariga, the lawmaker who posed the question amid boos, also asked if she considered LGBTQ citizens should be able to “enjoy human rights.” Safo, a former Minister of State for Government Procurement, didn’t give a clear response.

The exchange sparked a social media debate on gay rights that brought into sharp focus the Jan. 31 fundraiser for a gay community center in Ghana. Policemen shut down the LGBT+ Rights Ghana’s community space in a Feb. 24 raid, forcing its leader to go into hiding.

An open letter in support of the group was signed by celebrities such as Netflix’s Chief Marketing Officer Bozoma Saint John and British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, both of Ghanaian heritage.

“We have the right as Ghanaians to live in peace, join groups, be protected from harm, and have our privacy respected,” the organization said in a Feb. 11 statement posted on its Instagram page.





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