39-year-old Gareth Henry is a professional Badminton player and a notable gay rights activist. He competed in his first competition at the Pan American Games in 2011 and played at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. He and his team took bronze at the Pan American Games in 2018 and earned his first gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games the following year.
Same-sex relationships is a crime in Jamaica. Most of the individuals who come out in that country face persecution and even death. It’s no secret that Gareth Henry was persecuted a lot for being a gay man while living there. Due to his persecution, he helped many members of the gay community escape Jamaica. Now Gareth Henry lives in Canada, advocating for gay people living in Jamaica for many years. He was once co-chairman of a gay rights organization and many other LGBTQ groups in the community.
His notable contribution to the gay rights community has led him to many tragic events. He’s had friends killed in Jamaica for being gay and is targeted by the Jamaican government for his involvement in the organization. In 2007, he was physically abused by policemen. A crowd was cheering on for the policemen to continuously beat him senselessly as he lay there motionlessly.
Later that year, Gareth Henry filed for refugee status after a police officer threatened to kill him while living in Jamaica. Canada accepted him in the country, in which he found a job with the AIDS Foundation. He’s currently the interim director at this nonprofit organization and volunteers for the Rainbow Railroad, another organization that redirects LGBTQ people who are also persecuted. Gareth Henry continues to right for gay rights to this day and became a prominent sports figure for many people in the LGBTQ community.