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Gareth Henry, Athlete and Courageous Advocate

Gareth Henry is a man of many sides. He is a champion badminton player, a social worker and a fearless fighter for equality and gay rights in his home country of Jamaica. He has 154 wins as a professional including a gold medal in the 2018 men’s doubles at the Central American and Caribbean Games and was part of the Jamaican men’s team that took the bronze at the 2018 Pan Am Badminton Championships. However, despite representing Jamaica in the games, Gareth Henry lives in Canada as a refugee due to threats and violence that caused him to flee his country.

Jamaica is considered one of the least friendly countries to gay men in the world. Despite knowing this, Gareth Henry fought for gay rights as the leader of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). Henry was already volunteering with the organization and took the reigns of the organization, even knowing the risks to himself, following the murder of leader and co-founder Brian Williamson. During his tenure with J-FLAG Gareth Henry dealt with the violent deaths of 13 of his friends from homophobic attacks.

Unfortunately much of the violence inflicted upon gay men was perpetrated by the police in Jamaica. Henry continued to work as an advocate even after witnessing the death of a friend at the hands of police and a mob. He then experienced this violence first hand as he found himself the target of multiple attacks. The worst of these incidences was a brutal beating at the hands of authorities at a pharmacy in Kingston, Jamaica. Following that attack Henry was forced to go into hiding. Gareth Henry was forced to leave his home escaping to Toronto where he lives now with his husband. He still considers himself to be a Jamaican, and continues to fight from afar for equal rights for himself and others in his home.

Source of the article : https://www.sportsmax.tv/index.php/athletics/athletics-international/item/14833-jamaica-s-gareth-henry-samuel-ricketts-win-gold-in-men-s-doubles