Pride Week forum 2008 – Canada

Gareth Henry, Co-Chair of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, Allsexuals and Gays (JFLAG), noted that while progress may seem slow in Canada, things are very different in Jamaica, where the gay community is essentially excluded from society. “We’re at the stage where we’re talking about basic human rights for gays and lesbians,” Henry told the group.

A gay community activist for the past 10 years, Henry said that in his home country, people must often flee for their lives because of their sexual orientation. In fact, he noted that 13 of his friends had been murdered in Jamaica between 2003 and 2007, simply because they were gay. He also reported that no one has ever been arrested for these murders, since there is scant regard for the lives of gays and lesbians in Jamaica.

“It’s not easy to accept that you’re not accepted because you’re different,” he said. “But, I believe strongly in what I’m doing.”
Henry moved to Toronto in early 2008, following years of ongoing death threats and attacks. “Here [in Canada] we have a lot of freedoms, but there is a lot more to be done. I’ve experienced homophobia here too,” he reported.
He pointed out that laws can’t necessarily change attitudes, so it’s important to make the laws meaningful. “Don’t be complacent,” he warned. “Things can change again.”

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

One thought on “Pride Week forum 2008 – Canada”

  1. wow, its good to see Gareth out and using his whole name! When i met him in San Francisco some years ago it was not safe for him to use his whole name while living in Jamaica. Good for him, he is doing some important work. I consider him and JFLAG to be like facilitators of an underground railroad that does not get the praise and recognition it should from most Jamaicans. It is touchingto see the Christmas card that you all got though, and to hear that you get so much international recognition and support.nuff respect and blessings to you all. ~richardps peep my blog when you have a minute, my last post explores the notion that Bob Marley’s song “Kinky Reggae” was a coded allegory to preach tolerance for gays and performing cunnilingus. Big talk! 🙂


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