Toronto’s Gain/Jamaica’s Loss, An Athlete With Tons Of Heart, Gareth Henry

6 feet, 172 pounds and handsome, Gareth Andre Theodore Henry is also athletic. His badminton team took bronze in the 2018 Pan Am Men’s Team Championships. And, in the same year, he and his partner, Samuel Ricketts, took gold for men’s doubles at the CAC games, which took place in Colombia. Good-looking enough to be a poster representative for his generation, yet Gareth Henry is so much more than a good-looking and a talented athlete. Gareth Henry has heart and the initiative to do good in a world that has not always done right by him or by those he’s cared for.

Born and bred on the beautiful island of Jamaica, Gareth Henry isn’t as pro-Jamaican as some of his compatriots, sadly, because he has seen the ugly, anti-gay underbelly of the beautiful island nation he hails from. Jamaica remains one of less than 100 countries worldwide, where it is still illegal to live in a consenting same-sex union openly. Now at 39 years of age, and living openly in Canada, Gareth Henry has not forgotten his struggles at home, where he tried even then to live an openly gay life.

The Co-chair of a gay advocacy group that reported hate crimes, Henry had 13 of his friends die because of their sexual orientation. Even the lawmen to whom he was reporting turned on him eventually, angered at his ongoing push for legal change. In 2007, he was beat by a group of police. However, when an officer threatened his life Gareth Henry realized he had to get out of Jamaica. Henry filed for refugee status and moved to Canada. Today, Henry is serving as interim director of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. He also works for the non-profit Rainbow Railroad that works to relocate persecuted LGBTQ individuals all over the world. Learn More.

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