How do you describe a Nigerian parent who declares their loving support for their ‘gay’ child on as public a forum as Twitter? If you needed a descriptor it would probably be ‘impossible to come by.’ But you don’t need such descriptor because someone already has. What you need is a name, and that name is Charles ‘Charly Boy’ Oputa.
The controversial entertainer took to the micro-blogging site and shared a picture with his daughter with the caption:
“Me, I love my gay daughter oooo because she has put some colours into my life too.
Acceptance of the truth is like surgery. It hurts but cures. Lie is like a pain killer. It gives instant relief but its side effects can last forever.”
The daughter in question is Dominique ‘Dewy’ Oputa, who has been out and proud as far back as 2018. Charly Boy has not always been this loudly supportive. At least, the narrative from father and daughter had differed as far back as then.
After she came out in an Instagram post announcing she would be creating a couple’s page with her girlfriend, Nigerian blogs had gone agog speculating on what her parent’s reaction would be, what could happen to her, were she to step foot in Nigeria considering the laws prohibiting homosexual displays of affection, among other banal concerns.
When Dewy responded to some of those queries, she had said that it was difficult for her parents to accept that she is a lesbian, but she chose her happiness.
Around the same time, Charly Boy told Sunday Scoop that he would always support his daughter, “She is my daughter, why won’t I support her even if she is whatever she is? My father supported me too. We can argue on moral grounds but we all have our rights to life. I fought for the gay community; so, if my daughter turns out to be this way, I should walk my talk.”
The comment – seen at face value and in the context of his growth potential, was great. However, the instance it is even slightly scrutinised, it falls apart in a mesh of benevolent homophobia.
- What Dewy is, is not ‘whatever,’ Dewy is a human being, a daughter same as she had always been, and someone who loves the same sex.
- There is no argument to be made on ‘moral ground’ against homosexuality that is not rooted in irrational hatred of LGTB+ persons. An argument based on a morality rooted in religion, which cuddles the sensibilities of the wrathful divine, can always be made but even that falls apart beyond the person who is making it. You cannot make others do anything based on how you believe the divine wishes to be approached.
His latest tweet, which has received mixed reactions from his followers who are mostly Nigerians, may be another stage in his evolution as a loving parent. That evolution is far from complete. A screenshot of Dewy’s comment under the same post which he shared on Instagram hints at existing tensions between father and child.
In response to a follow-up tweet by Charly Boy further asserting his position on the subject matter, lamenting that parents would denounce their children for being homosexual, and inviting any homosexual person who feels alone because they are rejected by their parents to call him and talk to him, Twitter user @Ulomax tweeted begging people not to call him, citing his daughter’s comment.
Another user @THEtemmieovwasa also tweeted revealing that there is a whole facet to the family dynamics we are not seeing.
Charly Boy is no stranger to amping up any aspects of his life that could get people talking. He had done it with spirituality for decades. Did the same with self-expression for his entire career.
Yet, there are points and topics one will accept everyone to approach with great caution. Specifically, because it could endanger the lives of real people. And this is one of those topics.
It can be argued that because of his platform, the latest move even if done for clout will help a lot of Nigerian parents face their homophobia if only briefly, and maybe come out of that act of introspection a bit different.
It can also be argued that, if the narrative that he is doing it for clout while being unaccepting outside public eye, it could also embolden hypocritical parents who make a show of accepting their ‘gay’ children just to shut them up and maintain social respectability.
This could risk the lives of these children who would find themselves disbelieved at every turn if they cry for help to get out of an abusive situation that the world is unable to see because their parents post online about how great they are while making life hard for them because they are gay.
There is a point to be made regardless, about how it is important for us to keep having the conversation about acceptance of the LGBT+ community, while we continue to talk about all the ways in which being unaccepting is harmful to people far and wide, whether they’re your family or faceless and nameless stranger in distant places.
Dewy has come out to fully clear any doubt about whether her father has had a change of heart and is now a better ally to her. In a series of tweets, the Atlanta based content creator and costume designer revealed that far from an ally, her father has remained emotionally abusive even despite the fact that she has won her freedom and relies on him for nothing.
What is clear at the moment is that Charly Boy might have done this simply for clout, to build a fan base of young people who are more conscious about social justice. What he may not have considered is that the same generation is not in the least averse to checking erring older people. We are not called the #SoroSokeGeneration for no reason.
Hopefully this serves as a lesson for other parents who intend to approach supporting their LGBT+ children from a double-faced standpoint. It is harmful and not worth the stress because this generation will not hesitate to ask you to speak up. And lies have a way of falling apart once they are heard at a louder volume.