It has been 123 days since I left Congo, where my mother held me captive on account of my sexuality.
Now, after much soul-searching, talk therapy, meditation, CBT and sweet, sweet sleep, I am slowly emerging from my hiding place.
What happened was a tragedy, life-shattering trauma. Yes, I saw the ugliness of human nature; I experienced hate so deep it pierced through my heart and echoed through my bones, resonating within every inch of me. But, I am learning, slowly, that it is only after much suffering, much heartache that we find strength, and growth to bring about change.
As I write this, and I reflect on what happened, my lips quiver and warm tears form vein-like rivers on my face. Reader, it is not what was done to me that causes me to lament; no, it is you. It is your kindness, your compassion and your love for another human being that brings me to tears. I was, and still am, overwhelmed by the generous acts of love that I received, from close friends to complete strangers.
I simply do not have the words to express my gratitude, but ‘thank you’.
Thank you for the tweets, the Whatsapps, the FB messages, the texts – they were my lifelines at the darkest times. Thank you for the phone calls, the emails, the petitions, the campaigning, the sleepless nights, the articles, the blog posts, the funds… Thank you.
And as I am now forced to join the clan of rejected children, I leave you with these words:
‘To all of the oppressed, the Blacks, the women, the LGBT and QTPOC youths, the young mothers, the minimum wagers and dole-receivers, the runaway brides, the non-conformers, the non-able-bodied; keep fighting, keep living and never, ever stop loving.’
Signed with love, light and strength,
A Black Lesbian
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Christina Fonthes is a Manchester-based translator, and Afrofeminist blogger. Born in Kinshasa, Congo and raised in London, she is an advocate for LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) rights. She is a founding member of Rainbow Noir, a safe space created for and by Queer People of Colour in Manchester. Christina is a regular contributor at Black Feminists Manchester. She can be found on Twitter @CongoMuse and Musings of a Congolese Lesbian blog