Gareth Henry: Profile in Courage

Gareth Henry is a badminton star who has won multiple medals competing for Jamaica in international competitions. Henry is also a gay man, who has become an activist for LGBTQ rights. Henry fled the country of Jamaica in an effort to receive asylum in Canada. In 2008, he was granted refugee status by the Canadian Government. Although Henry currently resides in Canada, he still represents Jamaica in badminiton at the international level.

Henry is currently the 316th ranked badminton player in the world and he has 154 wins. His ranking has steadily risen since 2011, when he emerged on the international badminton scene. Recently, he won a team bronze medal at the 2018 Pan American Men’s Team Championship. He also won a gold medal in the men’s doubles event at 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Henry is prominent for his social activism. He devotes much of his efforts to helping LBGTQ people escape persecution in Jamaica. Gareth Henry, a gay man, has long been an advocate for LGBTQ people. He bravely volunteered to head the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays after its previous director was murdered, even though he knew the peril he would face.

In Jamaica, his outspoken identification as a gay man put him in grave danger, as he was targeted for attack by the island’s police force. Homosexuality is a crime in Jamaica and the island is regarded as a bastion of homophobia. Henry’s efforts to report the attacks to the Jamaican authorities went unheeded. Gareth Henry has 13 friends that have been killed in Jamaica simply for being gay. Henry endured multiple attacks from Jamaican police, and after a long campaign of persecution at the hands of police, Henry was forced to flee the country and seek asylum in Canada.

Gareth Henry is still prominent as an activist. He assists in attempting to relocate LGBTQ people around the world who face persecution and danger in their home countries because of their sexual identity. As of 2016, he has assisted over 60 people in finding refuge in new countries.