Our embrace of Bobrisky (and Denrele) proves we’re more tolerant than we like to admit

Two years ago, the National Assembly passed an anti-LGBTI Law to what might be considered ‘critical acclaim’ by Nigerians. Nigerians are a people given to fiercely protecting their own but there was no protection for the LGBTQ Community by Nigerians when then President Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill in 2014. The average Nigerians that chose to be vocal about it were in support of the new law. We were tagged homophobic by the international community but no one seemed to mind.

It is 2016, and we have our social media sensation, Bobrisky. No one seems to mind his orientation. When popular blogger, Linda Ikeji outed Okuneye Idris (Bobrisky) last October, what he faced was not backlash from Nigerians. In fact, the young man has only grown his following by thousands since then.

When Bobrisky claimed to look like media personality, Toke Makinwa, she responded with endearments.

The Nigerian virtual space is home for many that may be classified as members of the LGBTIQ demography. They do not face backlash from Nigerians about their orientation. The opposite. Many Nigerians are fascinated by the queer and follow their escapades however they can.

Charles Oputa revealed his alter-ego, Linda, years back and raised a lot of questions about his true sexual orientation. Today he has one of the most interactive Instagram accounts in Nigeria where he has continued to post photos of ‘Linda’ to his over 7,000 followers.

a post off Denrele's instagram
Denrele’s most recent Insagram post

Denrele Edun is perhaps the most popular of the lot. Denrele is an exceptional and vibrant media personality. He stands out not only for his exceptional talent as a VJ but also for his bogus eccentric persona. Nigerians love Denrele. And questions about his sexuality have come up but he always get off without having to change his looks. Denrele is not only admired by peers, the older citizens seem to adore him too. He’s told the story of how his ‘threat’ to cause Senator Remi Tinubu to fall was only met by the former first lady of Lagos with humour.

In August, he posted a photo with former President Olusegun Obasanjo where he explained to his 152k fans that the former President had been dabbing with him. OBJ dabbing? Yes, that’s the power of Denrele’s charming persona.

obasanjo dab

It could be just the entertainment factor, many on Twitter claim they follow Bobrisky’s Snapchat just to avoid boredom. But whatever the reason for our fascination with cross dressers, transgenders or those who simply feel the need to be in touch with their feminine side, our acceptance of people like Denrele, Bobrisky and now ‘Seun The Diva’ proves that we are a lot more tolerant than we’d like to admit.

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