Archive for the ‘Badminton’ Category

Gareth Henry Fights for the LGBTQ Jamaican Community

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

There are still 76 countries where same-sex relationships are considered criminal; people can suffer from persecution or even death in these countries. Jamaica is one of them. Gareth Henry who spends much of his time trying to save the lives of LGBTQ people from his home country of Jamaica.

39-year-old refugee Gareth Henry has said that 13 of his friends died from homophobic attacks. He helped report anti-gay hate crimes to the police and was an activist towards gay rights. He now lives in Toronto and was a former co-chair of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).

He says that people in Jamaica live in constant fear because viciousness against the gay community is standard. Gareth Henry says that people try and live day to day. He experienced the violence multiple times while living in Jamaica and lived in hiding. Fleeing nearly for his life, he decided to leave his home country and went to Canada.

Gareth Henry works at Toronto People with AIDS Foundation in Canada. He volunteers at Rainbow Railroad which is a nonprofit that helps relocate LGBTQ people from the different persecuted countries around the world. Touched by so many of the sad and horrific stories that some of the LGBTQ people have gone through, he fights for them. Some of the people’s families have even tried to get their children out of these countries because they know what will happen to them.

Henry takes no pride in his former nationality of Jamaica, but other people have a different mindset. He has experience in communicating with LGBTQ people begging and pleading for help from the persecution that they suffer from. Many people are not aware of the gravity of the situation. In 2016 alone, he was able to help 60 refugees move to new countries, and many of them were Jamaican.

Gareth Henry believes that change comes from when a country bands together and supports the community. Many advocacy groups are challenging and striving to make a difference in Jamaica.

 

Gareth Henry’s spirited fight for gay rights and winning in sports

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Standing at a slightly intimidating height of 1.82 meters and weighing 77Kg, Gareth Henry may pass as an athlete. But that is far from it. He is a Badminton player who has won several titles in both Commonwealth and Pan American games.

Born in Jamaica’s North Coast, Gareth Henry did spend most of his time with his grandmother and aunt. His father was not present in his life, and his mother was only a teenager when she got him. Henry would later become a professional badminton player. He was part of the Jamaica badminton national team which won the bronze medal. This was at the 2018 Pan American Men’s team championships.

Another major feat for him was when he partnered with his fellow badminton player Samuel O’Brien Ricketts to win the men’s doubles gold medal. This was at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean games. Badminton is a game that runs in the family blood, it seems. This is evident when he made the team with his sister Geordine Henry. They went ahead to win the Jamaican National Badminton Championships Mixed Doubles for a record six times. Also, he is the winner of the BWF International Challenge/series in the category of men’s singles in 2014 and 2015.

Gareth Henry is currently living as a refugee in Toronto, Canada. This is after he ran away from his home Country Jamaica following persecutions of LGBTQ communities. He is the leader of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexual and Gays (J-FLAG). Before fleeing to Canada, he did spend a better part of his time fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community who were targeted for persecutions by the law enforcement officers.

When Gareth Henry was a teenager, he realized he had a liking for men. He would later become openly involved with the J-FLAG. Being a victim of harassment and beatings, he vowed to dedicate his time to save other J-FLAG members from discrimination, hatred and persecution. He is a champion in sports and in fighting for human rights.