An Insight into the Life and Career of Gareth Henry

Gareth Henry is a HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, and social justice activist. He was born and raised in Jamaica. Unfortunately, his life took a turn for the worse since he was a victim of homophobic violence while in Jamaica. Eventually, he decided to seek safe haven in Toronto, Canada.

At the age of 10, Henry started his high school education. With time, Gareth Henry became aware of his attraction to individuals of the same sex. Since gay individuals were termed as outcasts in the society, Henry became a “loner” since he wasn’t in a position to talk about his condition with anyone even his family members. After some time, Henry moved away from home with the help of his uncle just before his 16th birthday. For once, Henry felt free, and he decided to come out as a gay person.

After completing his studies at the Titchfield High School, Henry relocated to Kingston, Jamaica where he enrolled at the Excelsior Community College where he received a B.Sc. degree in Social Work. Gareth Henry also enrolled at the University of the West Indies where he graduated with a master’s degree in Communications for Social and Behavior Change.

Gareth Henry decided to become a volunteer at the JASL (Jamaica AIDS Support for Life) in 1997. While working at the NGO, Henry was able to interact with other gay individuals. Afterwards, another human rights organization known as J-FLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexual, and Gays) was founded. Gareth Henry decided to become a volunteer within the organization as from 1998 December.

The organization was running smoothly until June 9, 2004, the Brian Williamson, the J-FLAG co-founder, and spokesman was murdered. Eventually, Henry decided to become the new director and the lead advocate of J-FLAG.

While serving at J-FLAG, Henry lost 13 friends due to homophobic violence in Jamaica. With time, life took a turn for the worse, and Henry had to flee Jamaica since he had succumbed to homophobic violence together with a group of gay individuals on February 14, 2007. Although Henry was reporting such cases to the authorities, no action was taken. Eventually, he had to go into hiding, and he decided to seek safe haven in Toronto, Canada.