Marcel (not his real name), a 35 year old gay man and healthcare worker, has not come out to his family. He tested positive for HIV in 2007. He says he contracted the virus because he didn’t understand how to protect himself. “The solution is more of education” he says. In a society that highly values family, Marcel’s mother urged him to find a wife. She also saw it as a way to hide his sexuality: “She was really warning me with getting my wedding and getting a child and also to cover up who I am. To cover up what would think or people suspect me to be, within the family or outside the family.” Marcel says this is not unusual:“There are a lot more LGBT people within the community who are forced themselves to get married and to have kids. Just to cover up, just to change the perception or the misconceptions about their families and the people they live with.” Ghana. 15 March, 2018. Photo Robin Hammond/Witness Change

Marcel /

“Marcel is my name. I’m 35 years of age. Very bold and fearless person. I found myself to be more close and attracted to men, especially more masculine guys.

Due to my youth stage or infant I did look feminine and very innocent. During those time people and families rather admire my looks and never complain. I really got myself into gay life when I completed senior high school (SHS) in the year 2001. Because I do love it and that is me.

My junior brothers and my parents do suspect me, but I always find a way to educate them on my sexual life. They don’t really feel comfortable, but my Dad and Mum said they love me who I am and accept me the way I am.

That made me more strong and proud, but been more careful and discreet in everywhere I go or do in life.

I have also raised myself to a level that my family and friends and communities I live in respects me a lot even though am been suspected to be a gay.”

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