Gareth Henry Fights for the LGBTQ Jamaican Community

October 13th, 2018 by admin
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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.

 

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