Gareth Henry and the Gay Community

Four years ago, Gareth Henry was all over the international headlines after police and an angry mob of 200 people attacked him in his home country of Jamaica. The angry mob and the police had cornered at a pharmacy in Kingston, and they wanted to kill him. It was in 2008 that Henry found his way out of his country into Canada. He was the head of All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag) as well as Jamaica Forum for Lesbians. He fled to Canada fearing for his life where he has been granted refugee status. Henry claims that he worked with J-Flag for four years before leaving for Canada. It was under his leadership of the group that 13 members were killed. He says that he was the one who went to identify the bodies. Gareth Henry was promoted to become the head of the group after the former leader was killed in 2004 in a homophobic attack.

Gareth Henry suffered violence in three occasions at the hands of police officers. On Valentine Day in 2007, Henry suffered a notorious incident when a large mob was chasing a group of gay men. The group ran in search of a place to hide and found themselves in pharmacy in Kingston. Henry was among them. He claims that they called the police, but when they arrived, they were abusing them instead. The four police officers who had arrived started beating him up with their guns. He went to complain to the ministry of Justice in Jamaica, but he did not receive any support from them either. Even the politicians that he went meeting concerning his safety were not ready to help him in any way.

Every day police officers would come to his window claiming that they will kill him. During this time, Gareth Henry had given gay people who had been chased away by their families accommodation in his house. Some of the people he was housing were suffering from HIV/Aids. After documenting the series of attacks that he had suffered and even gaining international attention, the situation in Jamaica regarding the Gay community did not change. He had to live in hiding.

About Gareth Henry: