Garth Henry – Champion of Badminton and LGBT Rights

Gareth Henry, born and raised in Jamaica, has been playing badminton for what seems like his whole life. Gareth Henry became a Jamaican badminton leader starting at a young age in 2006 when he won the Men’s Single Junior Champions three consecutive years. In 2008 he appears at the Men’s Singles Badminton Champions to win. His sister soon becomes his partner in Mixed Doubles and together they are runner-ups at the Carebaco International Tournament. Gareth dominates the Men’s Single championship circle in Jamaica from 2012 -2015. During this time, 2014 and 2015, he is the winner of the Men’s Singles at the Carebaco International Tournament. He is ranked 294 in the World in Men’s Singles and 130 in Men’s Doubles with his sights set on the Olympics.

All these wins and accomplishments and a hectic schedule makes one wonder how Gareth Henry finds time to be a well respected activist for the LGBT group, especially those being forced to leave their countries. This is a cause very dear to Gareth’s heart. Being forced to leave Jamaica after many beatings due to his sexual orientation, Gareth has become a voice for those unable to leave their countries and that are being prosecuted by their countries for their sexual orientation. He has a deep understanding of what this is like after being forced to seek refuge in Canada due to his orientation. Gareth is currently the Interim Director at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation in Canada and at the Rainbow Railroad in Canada which helps LGBT refugees get from a place of danger to a place of safety.

Gareth Henry is still on track to pursue his Olympic dreams. He continues to compete in Tournaments to earn enough International Points to qualify for the Olympics. He has taken his determination in badminton and his skillset learned of hard work and perseverance and used those skills to help others in world.

Gareth Henry, The Badminton Player With A Heart Of Gold

Gareth Henry is a Jamaican badminton player. He competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as well as the Pan American Games in 2011 and 2015. In August of this year, Henry and his partner won the men’s doubles gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games. They were the only team from Jamaica to feature in the finals.

Aside from his successful badminton career, Gareth Henry is a gay rights activist who seeks social justice for the LGBTQ community. Henry was in his teens when he discovered his attraction to other men but found it very hard to come out to anyone, because Jamaica remains a country where consensual same-sex relationships are criminalized. There has been some progress in recent years, however, many still face homophobic threats and violence. As was the case for Gareth Henry.

He began volunteering for the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG), but in 2004 when the co-founder was murdered, Henry found himself in the role as new director for J-FLAG. Over the next four years, he pushed to create change while also suffering the loss of 13 friends who were killed in homophobic attacks. Gareth Henry’s activism made him a target of law enforcement where he was attacked on three different occasions, including one incident in which four police officers beat him with their guns. In 2008, Henry fled to Canada to seek refuge and was granted asylum because he feared for his life.

Gareth Henry now lives in Toronto, with his family who eventually had to seek refuge for supporting him. Today, he works at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and volunteers for Rainbow Railroad in an effort to help relocate LGBTQ people who live in fear of their lives around the world.