It’s not often that you get a second chance in life, but that is just what happened to Jamaican LGBTQ activist Gareth Henry. The outspoken refugee who happens to be gay is spending all his spare time tirelessly fighting for the freedom of LGBTQ people in Jamaica and everywhere he goes. Nearly half of the world’s countries still criminalize same-sex partnerships.
Now living in Toronto, Gareth Henry is a vocal crusader for unjust violence against gay people. He used to regularly help people report hate crimes against gay people to the police. Many of his friends have been killed in homophobic assaults. Violence against the gay community is so common that people are used to it and shrug it off like it’s nothing.
“With all these things happening, they go unnoticed, they go unheard, because the violence against the gay community has been normalized,” Henry told NBC Out.
In fact, Gareth Henry is so outspoken that his crusade for change spurred the police to take aim at him. In 2007 he was beaten up by a bunch of policemen for the third and final time. He filed to become a refugee soon after that and escaped to Canada the next year.
Canada offered Gareth a new life and he soon started working at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. He also donates his time to Rainbow Railroad, a nonprofit organization in Canada that helps relocate LGBTQ who are in the same situation that Gareth was in not so long ago.
In the year 2016 alone Gareth Henry helped relocate 60 refugees to new countries. He said that migrating to a new place is an important first step. It is literally a necessary first step to save people from being killed in their homeland. The next step is to reverse the hate culture that is aimed towards the LGBTQ community. Eventually, Henry’s family also migrated to Canada, because they were being persecuted in Jamaica for supporting Henry and they feared for their lives on a daily basis.
Gareth Henry is an inspirational crusader for the LGBTQ community and devotes his life to giving people a second chance at life.
Learn more: https://www.olympic.org/gareth-henry