Gareth Henry, a Jamaican Badminton player, recently made a statement after some of his friends were killed. Alongside his career in Badminton, he is now an ex-gay and lesbian activist who is believed to have received death threats. Those threats promoted him to attempt to find a hiding spot in Canada, and perhaps a place to live without publicity. Why did he make the international headlines?
It was four years ago that Gareth Henry was beaten by police officers in front of about 200 people. The mob had Henry cornered inside a pharmacy in Kingston. It was in 2008, a year after this incident that Henry fled to Canada seeking shelter and potentially asylum. At 35 years of age, he is one of two activists that is now seeking legal challenge against his home country. Despite the outcry about death threats, Gareth Henry feels that they should be protected. Heading up the group known as J-Flag, he watched some of his friends get killed as a result of these mobs.
Sadly, Henry was called upon to identify the bodies of those friends. Gareth Henry took over the role as the leader of J-Flag when Brian Williamson, the previous leader was stabbed to death during an attack by a homophobic mob in 2004. It’s a difficult time during which many countries have made gay marriage legal, and yet he is standing for his own beliefs and rights. The worst event he describes, took place on Valentine’s Day in 2007. Since that time, he has had a watchful eye, and hoping to bring positive change to Jamaica.
Gareth Henry has been an outspoken voice for those who like him, are seeking to only live their lives with freedom to be with who they choose to be with. At one time, he was taking in others who were neglected by family due to their choice to be gay. Today, Henry is still hoping to stand for choice, and to be given freedom to love who he chooses.