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Ghanaian musician and activist, Deborah Vanessa, popularly called Sister Derby attributes the hatred and misunderstanding she perceives as being directed towards LGBTQ persons to religion.

In a recent interview with YFM, Sister Derby claimed that religion has caused many people to lose their capacity for independent thought.

“To me, the root of all this confusion and hate—this kind of thing makes us hate each other—is religion. Religion is what everybody uses to decide what they are going to do.

“Most of us are not used to thinking for ourselves. We follow what someone else has said, and unfortunately, the majority of people are also following what they’ve read in a book,” she said.

She urged people to educate themselves—not just via formal means but also by becoming aware of the existence of others who are different from them.

“All those things are problematic. At least you try to educate yourself. It’s not about going to school; it’s about meeting the people. Oral learning. Physical learning, experiencing, talking to them, and understanding where they are coming from.

“But you can’t tell me that at such an age, you don’t know or can’t see that there are different types of humans in the world,” she said.

Sister Derby likened the situation of LGBT individuals in Ghana to that of victims of domestic violence and those who live with albinism.

“People with albinism have been oppressed before. They are still killing them and cutting their limbs in parts of Africa.

“But we fought; people like us fought for people like them. And black women are still being oppressed. Black men are still being oppressed in the world. Palestinian people are still being oppressed in the world.

“So you are just adding gay people to that? It’s the same kind of oppression. That’s what I try to explain to people. It’s disappointing,” she said.

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