Though Ghana is a country with a lot to offer it one of many nations in which ‘same-sex acts’ are illegal. Arthur Russell discusses what it was like for his friend to be gay and in Ghana.
The taboo of homosexuality is a part of life that is slowly disappearing from British society; however the same cannot be said of many different countries around the world. Travelling as an LGBT+ can bring up some difficult choices about where to go, how to act and who to tell.
I am a firm believer that through the eye opening experience of travelling, one can be helped en route to overcoming difficult experiences in their life.
Take my friend from Texas, a 20 year old lesbian, who had felt she had to constantly hold back parts of her personality. Her desire travel out to, and volunteer in, Ghana showed to me that she was not prepared to let her sexuality constrain her from achieving the unique we were both after.
Could it be that facing her fears of potential stigma, in the unknown world, and diving straight into the deep end before learning to properly swim actually brought about considerable growth in her own confidence and identity? She told me that ‘in a weird sort of way I now feel stronger from the experience Ghana gave me.’
Travelling helped her realise her strengths and ‘showed others as well as myself that I could be a perfectly respectable, caring and compassionate human regardless of my sexual orientation’. My friend also spoke of how accepting our travel group was to her, saying it was ‘really the first time it was easy for me to come out.’
Interaction with others who you would normally judge as different from you, could serve to provide reassurance, more often than difficulty. Perhaps coming to terms with ones sexuality in a new environment out of the comfort zone can actually help you not just reassess yourself but also others’ place in the world. Meeting new people from all corners of the world, helps you realise that beneath the surface homo-sapiens aren’t that different.
However confidence, like a good beard, takes time. Extracting her thoughts two years later, it is only now she can look back and see the difference. There was no immediate change. It might be easy for me to speak of such a positive experience, since I was not constantly against my nature in a potentially hostile environment that had a taboo towards homosexuality.