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Vada Magazine was the first publication to pick up the plight of LGBT activist and translator (and friend of the magazine) Christina Fonthes, who was allegedly held by her family so they could ‘cure’ her homosexuality. Thanks to lots of behind-the-scenes legwork by her friends and campaigners across the country, we’re happy to announce that Christina is safe and returning to the UK.
The mainstream media has now caught wind of Chris’ story too, due to the support she has received on Twitter and Facebook (including from loyal Vada readers).
Manchester resident Chris, 27, who founded support group Rainbow Noir for LGBT people of colour, went to the Democratic Republic of Congo on 11 August with her mother and younger sister for a family holiday. It was while she was there that she was apparently held at her aunt’s house, her passport was taken and her return ticket was seized. This was, friends claim, so that her sexuality could be ‘fixed’.
After escaping to a friend’s house, she was allegedly reported as missing to the police. She visited the British Embassy to organise emergency travel documents, but after leaving the Embassy, it seemed she was apprehended by the police and may have been returned to her mother and aunt.
Chris’ partner, BBC sports presenter Jessica Creighton told i: ‘It became apparent that her family were unhappy with her decision to be an out lesbian. They took her passport and want to… “cure her of her gayness”.’
Jess added: ‘Chris is a British citizen and should be under the protection of the British government. So far, their so-called protection has been utterly useless.’
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s spokesperson replied simply: ‘We are providing consular assistance to a British national in the DRC.’
Following negotiations through the night, during which time friends and campaigners asked social media users not to continue posting about the case in order to avoid jeopardising her safety, Chris was kept safe. According to the Rainbow Noir Facebook page, she will soon be back in Manchester to meet her friends: