The Inspiring Life of Gareth Henry

Born on October 20, 1977, Gareth Henry is social, LGBTQ and HIV/Aids activist. Henry flew to Toronto, Canada after going through homophobic violence in Jamaica. He was born in St. Mary’s a town found on the northern coast of Jamaica. He spent most of his time with his grandmother and aunt, where she was raised since her mother was in her teens while the father was an absentee.

Gareth Henry went to school at 10, and he realized that he was gay in his teenagehood. He was despised as gays were not appreciated in Jamaica, which prevented him from coming out even to his family until he moved away with his uncle at 16. He Graduated from Titchfield High School in Portland Parish and later moved to Kingston. He joined Excelsior Community College and the University of the West Indies where he acquired a degree in Social work and a master’s degree in Communications for Social and Behavior Change.

Gareth Henry started his volunteer activities for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life in 1997 where he got an opportunity to meet other gays. He later started volunteering in J-FLAG in 1998, an organization that was started to serve the needs of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender community. His life, however, took a wrong turn on February 14, 2007, when he and some other gay men underwent a brutal beating by an angry mob including police in a pharmacy in Kingston, and unfortunately, his complaints to the authorities fell on deaf ears. The gay harassments kept going on, and he witnessed most of his friends getting killed, and he had to run away to a safe place. That is when he decided to fly to Canada in 2008 looking for rescue.

He was welcomed by organizations such as Amnesty International, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto and EGALE Canada in the same year and he started working at Toronto People with AIDS Foundation as an intern director, and today, he is a service access manager. Gareth Henry also volunteered in other organizations such as Rainbow Railroad. He was married to Aron Charles, but they later went through a divorce. He is now engaged to Patrick Siragdeen with whom he lives with in Toronto. He loves traveling and making new friends.

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