After Gareth Henry was savagely beaten by the police in a Kingston, Jamaica pharmacy for being gay, he knew that he was no longer safe in the country that he had grown up in. This was not the first time the man had faced police brutality because of his sexual preference, it had happened twice before. This attack was made in front of a group of 200 people who cheered the police on as they beat him with their guns.
The badminton player fled the country in order to stay alive. Canada granted Gareth Henry asylum in their country where he was able to live his life without persecution. Even though he was able to make it out of Jamaica safe, the same cannot be said for the other gay men on the island of Jamaica. Many feel hopeless with nowhere to go and no chance of survival. These fears are worsened for those who are suffering from HIV.
Grateful for his own experience, Gareth Henry is now helping other members of the LGBTQ community escape from dangerous situations through the Rainbow Railroad. Many of the LGBTQ community were outcasted to the cemeteries and sewers of the island. This situation is dangerous as he told stories of the violence many of the “gully queens” had faced. From acid attacks to sexual assaults and even vicious attacks by dogs, survival is a serious concern for these men and women.
One of the stories that touched Gareth Henry the most was that of a mother who reached out to him asking for help for her son. It isn’t very often that parents in Jamaica stand with their LGBTQ community and try to keep them safe from harm while accepting who they are. If it happened more often, live for these young men and women may be better for them.
While Henry Gareth does not have any pride in the country that treated him as less than human. He has seen the atrocities that have been committed and cannot forget them. These crimes have been hidden and need to be brought to light around the world.
About Gareth Henry: www.olympic.org/gareth-henry
Gays and lesbians are still living with the stigma of being inferior beings. In modern day America, gay and lesbian people are being accepted more into the society. Their rights are taken seriously by the legal system, and nearly all social groups. The gay and lesbian community has branched out and are accepted for who they are. The rights of gays and lesbians have reached a high level in the United States, but in other areas of the world, they are still seen as outcasts. Gareth Henry is a gay activist from the island of Jamaica. He experienced inhuman ordeals with law enforcement that it forced him to seek asylum in another country.
In the early years of 2004, Gareth Henry was beaten by police officers after he had been cornered by a mob of people. The policemen used their guns to mercilessly beat Henry because he was gay. The officers were called to a pharmacy where the mob had cornered the victim, and instead of coming to his aid, the officers turned on him and beat him. Gareth Henry had become the leader of a gay and lesbian organization called the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays. He took over the leadership position after witnessed the death of his friend, who was the leader at that time.
Gareth Henry had to go into hiding because he was constantly receiving death threats from the police. He finally got out of the country, and found his way to Canada where he was granted asylum. The Jamaican born badminton player filed a partition against the law enforcement officials in Jamaica for all of the harassment, and death threats toward him because he was a gay citizen of Jamaica..
Gareth Henry had a badminton career that earned him several honorable achievements. He was a competitor in the Commonwealth Games of 2014, and the Pan American Games in 2011 and 2015. He also teamed up with his sister who also played badminton professionally. Together, they won the title for mixed doubles six times in the Jamaican National Badminton Championships, from 2008-2016.
To know more click: here.