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Manchester lesbian activist held captive in Congo to ‘cure her of gayness’

Nick Duffy August 30, 2014

A Manchester-based rights campaigner is on her way back to the UK, after being held against her will in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

27-year-old Christina Fonthes, who co-founded the Rainbow Noir LGBT group in Manchester, was born in Kinshasa but is a British citizen, and has lived in the UK for most of her life.

Her partner, BBC sports presenter Jessica Creighton says that Ms Fonthes had travelled to the Congo with her mother and sister to visit her extended family, when her passport was stolen by the family, who wanted to keep her in the Congo to “fix” her sexuality.

Ms Creighton told the Independent: “It became apparent that her family were unhappy with her decision to be an out lesbian.

“They took her passport and [were] refusing to give it back. They have said they want to keep her in Congo and ‘cure her of her gayness’.

“She managed to get herself to the embassy in Kinshasa as she was in fear of her life.

“But officials at the embassy released her… both Chris and the friend were arrested.

“We have just found out Chris is now back with her family. Who knows what they might do?”

Labour MP Kate Green and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office both confirmed they were working to secure her safe return to the UK.

A statement from Rainbow Noir has today confirmed that Ms Fonthes is “safe” and will be back in the UK soon.

It reads: “We have good news. We can confirm that Christina is safe! She will be back in the UK with her friends very soon.”

“The response to Christina’s abduction has been overwhelming, thank you to everyone who has tweeted, shared and written messages of support.”

It is not illegal to be a lesbian in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but there are no legal protections for LGBT people.

More: activist, Africa, Chris Fonthes, Congo, England, Gay, lesbian, Manchester, Rainbow Noir, Rights, UK

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