Gareth Henry is an HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, and social activist who had to flee to Toronto, Canada after being persecuted and even having Gareth Henry’s life threatened. Gareth Henry was born in St. Mary’s, a town in Jamaica near the northern coast. His mother was a teenager when he was born, and his father was not in the picture. He was raised mostly by his aunt and grandmother.
He felt attractions to other boys when he was quite young but being gay in his town was a way to draw unwanted attention and harassment, so he kept it under cover. He didn’t feel that he could come out to his family, but right before he turned 16, he moved into his uncle’s house and finally felt that he could be himself.
Gareth Henry went on to graduate and in 1997 be began his volunteer work for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, also known as JASL. He had the opportunity to be around other like-minded men and not long after that he has the opportunity to work with J-FLAG, the organization that is known as the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays.
Gareth Henry was the lead advocate of the group and new director of J-FLAG, but that meant that he would be in the limelight and meant that he would be facing new dangers. He lost 13 of his friends to hate crimes, and he had to endure many attacks himself. His life was threatened, and he sought refuge in Toronto, Canada. He is now the interim director at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, and he is also the service access manager as well.
He’s a supporter of Rainbow Railroad, and he donates his time there whenever he can. He helped relocate 60 refugees to new countries in 2016, and he continues to work closely with the organization to do good. This may seem like a lot, but there are still close to 350 refugees in the Caribbean seeking refuge. He knows the struggle of refugees is very real and he continues to do all he can to help.
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