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The Life Challenges of Gareth Henry the Jamaican Badminton Player

Early life

Gareth Henry was born in Jamaica in a small town called St. Mary. He was brought up without knowing who his father was. When he was 10 years old, he started attending school. At his teenage years, he realized that he was becoming attracted to other guys. In Jamaica, gay people who are also referred to as batty men, undergo a lot of discrimination and harassment. As a result, Gareth Henry decided to keep his secret to himself, to avoid all the trouble. At the age of 16, he gained courage and opened up to a relative who arranged for his moving away from Jamaica.

Roles Played

In the year 1997, he volunteered at the Jamaica Aids Support for Life- JASL, whose primary purpose was to ensure that the rights of the people living with Aids were upheld. In 1998, he joined Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gay-J-FLAG. It was the first organization of the kind to be started in Jamaica. The group’s main agenda was to ensure that equality was observed, and nobody would be punished for choosing the type of life they desire. After the murder of one of the leaders of J–FLAG in 2004, Gareth Henry assumed the role of heading the organization. The move led to him receiving beatings from the police. One famous case was when police officers assaulted him in public, while at a Jamaican pharmacy. During the same period, he received numerous threats, and 13 of his friends got killed.

After realizing that his life was at stake, he left for Canada, where he was accepted as a refugee. In Canada, he continued his service work. While there, he joined the Toronto People with Aids Foundation-TPAF and volunteered at Rainbow Railroad, which helps in the process of moving refugees.

Sporting Interest

Gareth Henry developed an interest in badminton at a very early age. At 15 years, he was already competing with people who were older. He participated in several worldwide competitions including the Commonwealth and Pan American games. He has won several titles including a bronze medal, the 2018 Pan American Men’s Team. He is a member of the Jamaica Badminton Association that aims at encouraging the young people in the inner areas of Jamaica, to play badminton, and helping them nurture their talents.

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