Gareth Henry Is A Jamaican Hero For LGBT Rights

Jamaica has been notoriously known to be a country where homophobia is extremely common and deadly. Which makes the courage of Gareth Henry even more notable. Henry, born Gareth Andre Therodore Henry in Mandeville, Jamaica on August 10, 1991, is a well known badminton player. He has competed at the Commonwealth Games as well as the Pan American Games. From 2008 to 2016 he teamed up with his sister, Gerodine Henry, won the mixed doubles title at the Jamaican National Badminton Championships.

As a child, Gareth Henry was called a “batty man”, which is Jamaican slang for homosexual men. He officially “came out” as a gay man at the age of 16. he became the head of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag). He took over after its leader Brian Williamson was stabbed to death in 2004. Over the course of four years he had to identify the bodies of 13 of his gay friends who were murdered. Gareth Henry continued help other gay men, some who had been diagnosed with AIDS/HIV and were disowned by their families. In 2007 he was beaten by police officers in a Kingston pharmacy in front of approximately 200 people. In 2008 Henry fled to Canada to seek asylum after he claimed to received police death threats.

Gareth Henry currently resides in Toronto where he volunteers for Rainbow Railroad, a nonprofit which helps LGBTQ people around the world to relocate amidst violence and death threats.