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Gareth Henry and LGBTQ People

Gareth Henry who is a gay refugee spends most of his free time helping lives of Jamaican LGBTQ people in who require help to escape persecution including death. Jamaica is one of the 76 nations that have criminalised consensual same-sex marriage. Gareth who is 39 years old stays in Toronto. He is an outspoken activist who formerly comes from the small island nation of Jamaica. He was advocacy group Jamaica Forum of All-Sexual and Gays (J-FLAG) and Lesbians’s former co-chair. He often helped other individuals to report hate crimes against gay people to police. He argues that his 13 friends were attacked and killed in homophobic situations in Jamaica.

All these incidents took place without being reported, as they go unnoticed and unheard because violence against the gay group is a regular thing in Jamaica Gareth Henry told NBC. The violence is so intense that fear has polarised most people. The gay people live every day in fear with the hope that better days will soon come. His efforts to bring change in the society led to police officers targeting his life. Gareth Henry claims that in 2007, a group of police officers beat him up in front of a mob in a pharmacy. This was the third time police officers were attacking him. Later he went into hiding. Henry goes ahead to say that later that year while he had was at a traffic light, a police officer came to him and claimed that they had found him and they were going to kill him. This led him to flee his home and seek asylum in Canada. He states that moving to Canada was between death and life opportunity.

In Canada, Gareth Henry began working with Toronto People with Aids Foundation where he still works as an interim director. During his free time, he loves to volunteer for Rainbow Railroad which is a Canadian non-profit that focuses on Underground Railroad to help find LGBTQ people who are facing persecution across the world. Gareth Henry no longer has pride for his country. Besides, working with Rainbow Railroad has enabled Gareth has help him to assist 60 refugees to relocate to new nations in 2016.

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