I enjoy social media; all kinds of craze and sense live and thrive on it! So, when I came across Dr. Doyin Okupe’s son’s story on coming out as gay; I dwelt mainly on the comments section because that’s how you know us as Nigerians.
The comments were as spiteful and foolish as some were pretty reasonable and kind.
So, as a Nigerian parent, you are sitting quietly in your corner of the earth; still working your fingers to the bone to pay school fees for your child abroad; because you want him to have a good life, a better standard of education than you got. Looking around you, with ASUU strikes on a yearly basis; the best thing you can do is give this child of yours a decent education.
Who can blame you if you don’t trust the Nigerian government to do better?
While looking forward to him finishing school and coming home; he calls you one day to tell you ‘something,’ has been bugging him.
“What is it? Your money finished? Are you in trouble? You failed your exams?”
You fire off the questions without waiting for answers.
He says none of these happened. You’re relieved, thinking, no matter what he tells you after all of these, you would be fine with it.
Then he lays it on you: “I am gay!”
“Huh? What did you say?”
“I wanted to tell you myself,” he says, “I am gay and I am tired of hiding.”
Of course, a typical Nigerian parent that you are, it does not sink. You pull the phone away from your ears and look at it. “This phone isn’t working well,” you tell yourself.
“Come first, is the boy drunk? What kind of expensive joke is this early Monday morning?”
“I reject this,” you mutter over and over again! “I reject it!”
…But even your words of affirmation have begun to unearth doubts that have been buried deep in your sub-conscious. They were signs you had noticed when the boy was growing up…you have been totally blindsided!
Then you start begging him; you try to cajole him. You try to make him recant his status but the boy is adamant. Then, you ask him about the several girls you had previously seen with him; girls with big bosoms and booties to boot. You ask him why he doesn’t find them attractive. His answers leave you frustrated, so you back off. You keep telling yourself, “He doesn’t know what he is doing.”
When he continues to stick to his gun, you switch to threats. You tell him you will cut off his funding; you will stop paying his fees. He would stop bearing your name as no child of yours will bring disgrace to your sacred family name.
You will huff and puff but can’t really blow his convictions out because; this kind of matter isn’t the type you gather family meetings for. No. This secret is a shame that will show your rump in public and you don’t want that.
After beating yourself over and over again about your ‘mistake’ sending the boy abroad to study; where he got this bad influence, these wrong ideas about what God ordained for man and woman on earth…
You turn the searchlight back on yourself. You have been a bad parent. And you were too liberal, so the boy got away with many things you ought to have thrashed his pretty behind for…Dear Lord, you think again, his pretty behind, that place will be a sight for sore eyes by now.
“I reject this,” you shout again.
“I have failed the boy. Me and my so-called Christian standing. Me that I am a deacon in my church. Ha! They will laugh at me; they will mock me…”
“Me, a whole Imam of the biggest Masalashi in the area. My own son is gay, Astaghafrullahi! I will swear the Quran against him. This is his mother’s fault. This is devil’s work because nobody on my side of family is gay!”
When done with blaming yourself, you turn on God. “God, why?”
“Me with all my seven days fasting every month. Why didn’t you show me this boy was going to do this to me?”
God is watching us.
You will find that family and friends will make fun of you to your face and right behind you. They will blame you. They will blame your spouse and they will say you deserve what came to you…
But you must:
- Pull your son close. You want to know how this came to be. You want to know what is going on with him. Also, you want to show that while you do not agree with his choice; you will find a place of love in your heart. You don’t want him to think you hate him or are intolerant of his choices if he hasn’t had an opportunity to explain how he came to. If you don’t pull him close you will lose him forever. There are hundreds of his kind waiting to take him in.
2 Remember you didn’t create this son. Neither are you responsible for his life after 21years of age. You can only monitor, guide, advise, teach him to do what you think is right. Leave God to do what He wants with this one. If he is in God’s hands, what more can you do?
- Let your son know his choice hurts you. Let him understand why it hurts without the burden of guilt. Give him a chance to tell you what he feels and why he chose this path. You may be able to help him after all.
Much as it remains in your power, love this son of yours and continue to pray for him. Absolve yourself of guilt. And if you think you haven’t tried hard enough, try again.