For those people in the lesbian, gay and bisexual community, the teenage years come with plenty of challenges. Also known as an individual’s sexual orientation, many youths find themselves in a confusing state when trying to find their identity in sexual matters. For one Gareth Henry, the journey to coming out and embracing oneself has been worth the struggle. Born in Jamaica, the vocal badminton player is committed to assisting those who are struggling with their sexual orientation to embrace themselves and reach out to likeminded individuals who can offer the same support. Growing up in his hometown, he lost about 13 friends who identified as gay to assassinations. As of now, his country has criminalized such relations thereby arresting those who come out. For that reason, Gareth Henry is dedicated to empowering his peers through different programs that support same-sex relationships.
Growing up, Gareth Henry did not have a relationship with his absentee father. His mother supported Gareth Henry’s siblings in the single-family home. But, Gareth Henry had a close relationship with his grandmother. When he turned 10, Henry started school. It was then that he realized he was attracted to boys. For years, he lived a lonely life because same-sex relations were unacceptable and punishable. He could not come out. When he turned 16, he moved to his uncle’s place and got some liberation from the discrimination in Jamaica. He then started living a normal life as a gay man. While in Kingston, he went to the Excelsior Community College then the University of West Indies for science and social work. He also studied communications and behavioral change.
Working with the LGBT Community
In 1997, he started working with the Jamaica AIDS Support Group, one of his country’s largest organizations for human rights. He also offered to participate in community work and collaborate with gay men. Besides, he worked with the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians and All-Sexuals as well as Gays organization. Although he tried to fight for the LGBT community in his country, his pleas fell on deaf ears. That is why he decided to flee the county and settle in Canada where he sought refuge. He received refugee status and started working with the LGBT community in Canada. Today, he is a free man still trying to educate masses about embracing the gay community.