35 year old Baobab (not his real name) is a gay man and LGBT activist in Ghana. When visiting his boyfriend, a group of men confronted him threatening to out him if he didn’t give them money. He was forced to take them to an ATM where he gave them what he could. He promised to give them more the next day. Instead though, he went to the police. Initially the police would do nothing to help him, but Baobab insisted until the police agreed to accompany him back to where his blackmailers were waiting for him, and arrested them. Speaking of the interaction he says: “You know it takes a lot of courage to handle these people. I mean the police and all that, they don't know the law.” Baobab knows that he is an exception among LGBT Ghanaians, most of whom would not turn to the police fearing stigmatization or being treated as criminals themselves. “They fear to report such cases,” he says. Stigma destroys lives according to Baobab: “Stigma kills. The virus doesn't kill. The virus can be suppressed. Inasmuch as stigma also can be unraveled and stigma can be addressed. But, a virus... never kills, but stigma does.” Ghana, Accra. 14 March, 2018. Photo Robin Hammond/Witness Change

Baobab /

“I was gay from day one. I discovered my sexuality and sexual preference very early in life. I think I was three years when I realized I was gay. I have a masculine gait and looks, but very feminine at heart and desires and feminine pleasures. I’ve had very little challenges in life with my family, schoolmates, church members, and my neighbors due to my strong will and my ability to withstand negativities. I have negotiated my sexuality very well with others over the years, and I have been very successful in most of the cases. I’ve had only one physical attack, but I handled that legally and I got justice.”

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