Those who are members of the lesbian and gay communities can face serious problems merely because of who they are. They may be denied job opportunities, ostracized by their parents and shunned by other members of their community. One person who is speaking out about his personal experience as a gay man is Jamaican native Gareth Henry. Gareth Henry grew up on this island nation. He wants to tell the world about what it is like to feel such harsh issues and how to help those who are suffering. Gareth Henry now lives in Toronto, Canada and feels he can raise his voice for those who cannot do the same. Over the course of his career in sports, he’s helped to raise awareness about the specific issues that gays and lesbians face throughout their lives. The place of his birth makes it a crime to have same sex relationships. This makes it one of seventy-six countries across the globe where gays and lesbians have to live in terror of being harmed or thrown in jail.
Over time, Gareth Henry saw this in person in his own life. He tells the world that thirteen of his friends have actually been literally killed merely for being gay. This is why he does what he does right now. He wants to help create ways to make sure that no one is ever persecuted because of their sexual orientation. He was personally beaten up over a decade ago by a policeman in his homeland in front of a jeering crowd. Moving to Canada has given him a new lease on life and a great opportunity to feel totally free. His work with the organization Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and volunteerism with an organization called the Rainbow Railroad have helped him realize he is not alone. He wants to reach out to all gay and lesbian youth who also may feel alone and feel that no one is listening to their concerns. Henry is there for them. He wants to let them know there is help available that will let them escape potential persecution.