Long House Studio

Gareth Henry Giving Hope to the Oppressed LGBTQ People

Gareth Henry Giving Hope to the Oppressed LGBTQ People

If there is one person who has impacted the world in an unimaginable way is Gareth Henry. Gareth is a widely acknowledged HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ and social justice activist. His life is a fairy tale that will grasp your attention in the very first sentence that the narrator will bring up. A lot of news hit the headlines on daily basis on the lives of LGBTQ people. Gareth is no stranger to being part of this news. Many people recognize him as the gay refugee who has been spending his free time saving the lives of the affected people and especially in Jamaica, his nation of birth.

Jamaica remains one of the 76 nations that do not recognize the rights of LGBTQ people. Consensual same-sex relationships in Jamaica are punishable by law. Gareth has also not been spared by the authorities and the general community in Jamaica that is against same-sex relationships. Gareth was the former co-chairman of the advocacy group Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexual, and Gays or J-FLAG. Through this platform, he was able to help victims of LGBTQ crimes in the nation report their cases to the authority. However, everything was not that smooth and he has endured a lot of injustices.

Gareth Henry told NBC that 13 of his friends were murdered for being suspected of being gay. He went on to state that most of this homophobic crimes are overlooked and nobody wants to hear them. He said that these uncouth things happen because violence against the gay community has been put on a normal footing in Jamaica and nobody wants to speak against such occurrences.

Gareth has tried to enlighten the society on many occasions but his words have fallen on deaf ears. He narrated that in 2007 he was harassed and beat up by law enforcement while the nearby crowd was just jeering in jubilation. Gareth Henry said that such incidents have happened on many occasions and he decided to seek refuge in Canada. He has been working with Toronto People with AIDS Foundation since fleeing to Canada.

Gareth Henry’s determination and commitment to change have seen him serve as the interim director of the foundation. He has also worked with Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian non-profit organization that has been aiding relocate LGBTQ people who live amid harassment in many parts of the world. Since volunteering at Rainbow Railroad, Gareth Henry has been able to help more than 60 refugees move to new nations and most of them have been his native countrymen. To know more about him click here.