Communication ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-31-2017


Same-Sex sexual relationship continues to be a criminal offence in Ghana under the carnal knowledge clause instituted by the British during colonization. Although the law does not specifically mention same-sex sexual relations, carnal knowledge criminalizes all forms of non- heterosexual sexual activities. The criminalization of same-sex sexual relations has sparked an intense debate about African subjectivity. On the one hand, many African nationalists and most Christian organizations argue that same-sex sexual relations is unAfrican; this enables them to both subjugate queers while not having to defend their views more explicitly. Others (typically academics) have explored the existence of diverse sexual behaviors over many generations in many African countries, which were not necessarily condoned, but did not have dire social consequences (Murray, & Roscoe, 1997). Therefore, using critical discourse analysis as theory and method, this dissertation examines how the queer Ghanaian subject is constituted through discourse.

This research was informed by theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of post-colonial theory, queer of color critique and queer intercultural communication. Consistent with the critical perspective that informed this project, I utilized Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis to bring out ideological tensions framing the discussions of same-sex relations and LGBT visibility politics. Online news media texts and interviews with NGOs and queer Ghanaian men were chosen to show the contrasting views and tensions which constitute discourses about queer men in Ghana.

Findings from the study showed that much has not changed for queer Ghanaian men with the end of British colonialism. From the above explanation, it is evident that independence did not mark the end of social relations and practices informed by colonialism. The continual references to social, political, medical, and legal institutions inherited at independence to violently deny queer Africans access to state resources show the importance of illuminating sexuality as a relevant aspect of postcolonial theory. Ideologies such as heteronormativity are implicated in discourses positioning queer men as against the norm. In this context, relations between queer men and social institutions such as religion and the criminal justice system reproduce power relations subjugating same-sex sexual relations as abnormal and heterosexuality as the norm. It also became evident that relationships established between the colonizer and colonized, to “civilize” and “modernize” the other, have been sustained through broader discourses of globalization and human rights.




Queer Africans, Intercultural Communications, Subject Positions, Subjectivities

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Mary Jane Collier

Second Committee Member

Dr. Shinsuke Eguchi

Third Committee Member

Dr. Myra Washington

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Alyosha Goldstein