Christina Fonthes, a lesbian activist, was flown home to safety after being held captive by her mother in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who wanted to “fix” her sexuality.
When Fonthes was visiting her family in Kinshasa on 11 August, they stole her passport in order to keep her in the country and “cure her of her gayness”.
She initially managed to get to the British embassy in the city to apply for emergency travel documents, but was unable to stay in the building. Fonthes then travelled to a friend’s house to hide from her family but was reportedly seized by police on the way and taken back to her relatives.
Friends said she was in “massive danger” and suggested the arrest by police was planned by her family.
In a plea for help, Fonthes tweeted on Thursday: “Im NOT missing. My passport has been stolen BY MUM. and I need to return to the uk asap.”
.@JJ_Bola Pls tell @UKinDRC & @ukhomeoffice that Im NOT missing. My passport has been stolen BY MUM.and I need to return to the uk asap.
— ChristinaManch (@CongoMuse) August 28, 2014
Her partner, the BBC sports presenter Jessica Creighton, told the Independent last week. “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’… 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,” Fonthes, who co-founded the Rainbow Noir LGBT group in Manchester, has lived in the UK for most of her life and is a British citizen. Rainbow Noir thanked well wishers on Facebook on Sunday, saying that Fonthes had managed to return to the UK.
#ChrisFonthes is back home with friends & loved ones! She wants to take some time to unwind & heal & thanks you for all your support x
— Rainbow Noir (@RainbowNoirMCR) August 31, 2014
Creighton confirmed her partner was safe, tweeting:
#ChrisFonthes is on her way back to the UK. It’s been an unbelievably tough few days. Thank you for all the support! pic.twitter.com/ohCCaX8qV5
— Jessica Creighton (@JessCreighton1) August 30, 2014