Gareth Henry, A Gay Badminton Player

Gareth Henry is a twenty seven year old Jamaican badminton player. He was born in St. Mary’s, Jamaica to a teen mom with no father around. He was raised by his grandmother and aunt, and had a sister who was raised by their mother. He was ten years old when he entered high school. As he was a teenager, he started to become aware of his homosexuality. There was a gay man in town who was harassed by homophobes, so Henry never came out of the closet to anyone. He moved away with his uncle, which made him feel more free to express his homosexuality.

After high school, Gareth Henry moved to Kingston to attend college. He studied at Excelsior Community College and the University of the West Indies. He received a bachelor’s in Social Work and a master’s in Communications for Social and Behaviour Changes. Gareth Henry was a volunteer for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, an AIDS focused organization in Jamaica. This gave him the chance to meet and work with gay men. After JASL, Henry volunteered for J-FLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays). Eventually, homophobic crimes forced him to leave Jamaica and go to Canada. His mother, sister and nieces were forced to follow.

He made the headlines in Jamaica after he got beaten by the police while cornered by a mob. Thirteen of his friends got killed and he identified their bodies. He was a part of a group of men who got chased into a Monarch pharmacy on Valentine’s Day. He was harassed not just by homophobes, but by police. He would wake up to an officer outside his window, threatening to kill him.

Alongside Gareth Henry, his sister became a professional badminton player. They teamed up to win mixed doubles at badminton championships six times. He has achieved men’s singles and doubles in the Caribbean Games along with mixed doubles. He has won the same achievements in the BWF International Series.