Jamaica is home to an exceptional culture and over 2.7 million people. Beyond the exciting people, cuisines, and culture, Jamaica is notorious for being a homophobic country. The idea of a man having sexual relations with another man is considered a taboo and it can cost you your life. Gareth Henry, a sports personality and J-flag leader, had to experience the brutal nature at first hand. Born in St Mary’s Jamaica, Gareth Henry was born in a time that nobody ever considered being openly gay. Aged 16, he traveled away from his family. To him, this was a calculated move that would allow him to live a life where he wouldn’t be judged for having a different sexual preference than other people.
In 1998, he joined the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays – an organization that looks after the rights of all LGBTQ people. The group was led by Brian Williamson, an outspoken gay rights activist. After his death, the organization was in disarray since nobody wished to risk his life as a leader of the LGBTQ community. At a naive age of twenty-something, Gareth Henry decided to do a press interview on the issues that gay people face and why they thought Brian Williamson’s death was a homophobic attack. A year after the interview, he had already taken over as the leader of J-FLAG.
What he didn’t know is that as the leader, he was at the top of the food chain. Every individual who held a skewed view on LGBTQ wanted him dead. During his tenure at the helm of J-FLAG, he lost over 13 friends due to homophobic attacks. At one point he recalled asking for help from the police after a mob had chased him and his members to a local pharmacy in Kingston. Once they arrived instead of helping him, they brutally assaulted him while making constant threats.
The threats became unbearable such that he decided to seek asylum in Canada. After his approval, he acknowledged feeling a sense of satisfaction and completion. He never thought a day would come where he would be openly gay, and nobody would judge him. As a way to give back to the community, Gareth Henry started volunteering for Rainbow Railroad – a Canadian organization that helps the LGBTQ community in the globe find peaceful places where they cannot be judged or harmed for being gay.
Gareth Andre Theodore Henry is a Jamaican badminton player and advocate for gay rights. He was born on October 20, 1977, in a small town of St. Mary’s, which locates on the northern coast of Jamaica. To make things much harder for Gareth Henry as a child, he grew up without a father and had a mother who was apparently in her teenage years. Because of the fact that Gareth Henry was gay, he had to deal with being bullied by his peers during high school because of his sexual orientation, which also explains him being somewhat of a loner as well when growing with these issues.
As he grew older however, Gareth Henry became well-known for his accolades in badminton he worked hard for. He’s been awarded numerous times for his competition such as when he joined the national team for the 2018 Pan Am Men’s Team Championships. He went on to win many more badminton titles in both men’s and mixed gender competitions, including one with his sister, Geordine Henry, who is also a professional badminton player, as went on to win the mixed doubles title at the Jamaican National Badminton Championships six times from 2008 to 2016.
On top of being a successful athlete in badminton, Gareth Henry also spends his time advocating LGBT rights, which according to his biography, felt forced to move to Toronto, Canada after experiencing harsh homophobic treatment by radicals in his homeland of Jamaica. With his promotion of social justice, He went on to help gay refugees escape persecution from countries that aren’t tolerant of their orientation, while trying to give them a better life in a process. It’s actions like this is why Henry is considered not only a tremendous badminton player, but a respected person in social rights movement.
Guilherme Paulus is the co-founder of the CVC Brasil Operadora and also the founder and chairman of the GJP Hotels and resorts. Paulus is the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Through the efforts that Paulus has applied in his businesses, he is now recognized as one of the most successful business people in Brazil. CVC is the largest tour company in Latin America. CVC was started by Paulus and his partner Carlos Vicente in 1972. At the time, he was only 24 years old.
When the idea of starting a tour company came to Paulus, he was working as an intern at IBM. It is his friend who brought the idea to him when they were on a cruise ship. He informed Paulus that he wanted to start a tour agency in his area. Paulus embraced the idea and thought it would be a brilliant idea that they should consider. Vicente was ready to provide the resources while Paulus would be managing the company. From work he was doing at IBM, he had opportunities of meeting with players in the travel industry. He developed skills needed to run an international business. He built this company until it became the largest tour operator in the region. Guilherme Paulus is successful because he had the passion for achieving the goals that the business had set out.
Although Guilherme Paulus is a successful business person, he has not given up on the businesses he owns. He is trying as much as possible to make them bigger and better over the years. CVC is a successful company that is worth billions. He recently sold part of it to an American company known as Carlyle Group. The company went in 2013 joined the public traded companies list. Every year, the company is making $5 billion in revenue. Guilherme Paulus is happy about the new opportunities that company has created. He is hopeful that the company will keep getting better as time s goes. Every year, he is establishing 100 stores to boost the operations of his businesses. He is hoping the company will rise to the top of the world.