Dr. Doyin Okupe is a conservative ex-presidential aide in Nigeria, a country where homosexuality carries a possible prison sentence of up to 14 years. His son came out as “gay AF” on social media earlier this year.
Now Dr. Okupe is saying that his son will be “an instrument of God” to change gay people.
In an interview with Vanguard News, Okupe talked about his 27-year-old son Bolu. Bolu shocked his home country when he posted a picture of himself shirtless to Instagram, holding a rainbow flag with the caption: “Yes I’m Gay AF.”
Homosexuality is a taboo subject in the country with the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world and the sixth-largest Christian population. A 2015 survey found that 87% of Nigerians believe that homosexuality is unnatural.
Bolu currently lives in Paris where he got his business degree, which his father said is the reason he came out.
Okupe, who is Christian, blamed Europe for his son’s sexual orientation, saying that Bolu’s mother took him abroad from a young age and that he is “easily influenced by his environment.”
“I know this for a fact because he came home one time for holiday, and this is the person that’s been questioning the Bible but all of a sudden he’s on fire in terms of Scripture having spent some months in Nigeria,” Okupe said.
“I made the greatest mistake to send him to France because that’s an extremely liberal society,” he continued. “The day I knew, I wept. Have gone past that.”
His understanding of his son is often one that American Christians share. While Bolu’s story appears to be that of a gay man who went to live in a more liberal area in order to be able to come out and live his life more freely instead of pretending to be something he’s not with his family of origin, Okupe believes that he is straight and naively went to the more liberal Europe and was turned gay somehow.
And, like those same anti-LGBTQ parents in the U.S., Okupe thinks it’s just a phase.
“We’re just praying for him but I also know that God’s ways are not our ways and He knows the beginning from the end,” he said. “Mark my words, he is on a sojourn to the gay community in order to be an instrument of God to that community eventually. That’s what’s going to happen, by the grace of God.”