Date: Wednesday 26 February 2014
Venue: NAB 1.04, New Academic Building
Speaker: Vernal Scott
Chair: Carolyn Solomon-Pryce
Vernal Scott, author of the new autobiography, God’s Other Children - A London Memoir, will look back at the impact of HIV and AIDS during the height of the challenge in the 80s and 90s.
Vernal Scott is an out Christian gay dad, diversity and human rights consultant and HIV/AIDS activist with over twenty-five years of experience working on the full range of equality/diversity characteristics.
Carolyn Solomon-Pryce is equality and diversity manager at LSE.
This event forms part of LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.
The disgusting so-called leadership of Uganda has removed the
once threatened death penalty clause from their anti-gay law. But lesbians and gay men will now face life in prison for the mere act of touching someone of the same sex, if that touching is perceived
as intimate in nature. Anyone who fails to report gay people, including friends and family, will themselves be subject to prison terms of seven years.
President Obama has made it clear that the new law will have consequences for American aid to Uganda. David Cameron, on the other hand, has said ...er...hmm...
Uganda is just one of a large number of African and Caribbean countries with severe laws against homosexual people. Of course, there are the Russias, too! This isn't just a 'Black' thing!
All decent people should unite against all forms of discrimination: hate and ignorance must not be allowed to win. Supporting the Peter Tatchell Foundation is one way to show we care.
We will survive and overcome these repugnant challenges to our freedom ...we must! Vernal
CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE FOR THE VIDEO! Linda Bellos here on the far left (!!!) initiated Black History Month in the UK, and next to her is fellow legend, Sue Sanders, the woman responsible for gifting us LGBT History Month. I was proud to share the platform with them and some other amazing people at last night's brilliant event at King's College, London.
I appeared on Arise TV News on 15th Jan 2014 to discuss the desperate plight of gay people in Nigeria, following the introduction of new repressive laws. Gay nationals, and those who associate with them, could now be subject to imprisonment for up to 14 years, and there are reports that arrests are already taking place. The country is amongst 80 percent of Commonwealth nations that openly discriminate against gay people. I write about these issues and more in God's Other Children: A London Memoir.
I will be on Arise News again on 20th January 2014 (Sky channel 519).
As for me, I’m happy to declare my body a forever safer sex zone. Yes, orgasms are great, but I don’t intend to get an irreversible (and preventable!) diagnosis for one. I… no, we have the power to be the cure we are seeking. In practical terms, it means regular HIV testing and making safer sex obligatory and sexy again. We can spice it up, perhaps with a little role play, but let’s all submit to the mighty power of the simple condom. Tell him: No condom, no party in the rear, baby! And if he says you’re a bore, show him the door!
Yes, I've got something to say, and that's why I'm proud to be associated with the event on 21st February. Come along, share, and learn!"
The wonderful people at 56 Dean Street and St Anne's Church Soho have invited me to do a reading from my book, God's Other Children - A London Memoir, at their joint WAD event. I very much hope you'll come along to light a candle, listen to short presentations, write or call out the names of your loved ones, and be in the company of friendly people who care and share your feelings. Taking place at St Anne's Church, the non-religious event is open to all.
Organised in acknowledgement and support of the men, women and children behind the dreadful statistics; more than ninety-five thousand UK residents either diagnosed or estimated to be living with HIV to date, and in excess of twenty-two thousand AIDS-related deaths. Sadly, new cases of HIV infection are on the rise.
I very much hope to see you on the day, and hope too that you'll share this information with your contacts. Thank you.
News Release: 30th October 2013
Sir Nick Partridge kindly contributed a foreword to my book. More importantly, he has been CEO at the Terrence Higgins Trust for the last 30 years. I extend my personal gratitude to Sir Nick, and wish him well for the future...he's far too young to retire. His leaving 'do' was held in the building formerly known as London Lighthouse. I found it quite emotional to be in the building again... but it was great to see Sir Nick, and other friends from the 'war years': Simon Watney, Jonathan Grimshaw, and Tony Whitehead.
Her Excellency has agreed to meet with me on 30th October 2013 to discuss
putting an end to anti-gay violence in Jamaica. I will be proposing the development of a 15-year strategic action plan, supported at senior government level, which will pro-actively address anti-gay
violence in Jamaica, and ensure LGBT people, living in or visiting Jamaica, experience dignity, freedom from fear, and equal life chances. See below for the introduction and principles of my proposed
If successful, within fifteen years, LGBT nationals should be able to confirm that they experience the same opportunities and outcomes as other nationals; in respect of health, education, employment, criminal justice/law and housing. They should also experience an immediate reduction in violence, or threats of violence (due to proposed legal consequences for the perpetrators).
The action plan, if agreed, would also include holistic education about LGBT people across the country, and equality/diversity training for all government staff; including teachers, health care staff, and the police. The strategy must, if it's going to get anywhere, also address religion and homosexuality.
In the short-term, the strategy must address the safe reporting of hate crime, as well as safe areas/housing for LGBT people at risk of violence. There should also be counselling services (if these are not already available)
The strategy will set out the massive socio-economic benefits of a more inclusive society. The decriminalisation of homosexuality is another long-term objective.
I will post an update here once the meeting takes place. If you have thoughts about my proposal or related issues, please let me know.
Vision 2030 Jamaica
(Proposed) Vision Equality Statement:
“A healthy, wealthy, educated, and confident Jamaica, where every child, woman and man, regardless of age, colour, disability, gender, identity, marital status, religion, or sexuality, experiences freedom, dignity and equal life chances. A modern, forward-looking Jamaica will promote dignity for all, and embrace and celebrate our diversity as an asset, not a problem; discrimination of any kind will be committed to the past. Our ambition to achieve and deliver excellence under the sun, means every Jamaican will be judged by the character of our heart, and personal contribution to making our beloved country the ideal place in which to live, visit, do business, and thrive. Self-discipline will ensure prosperous outcomes, and in the process, draw us closer together as one Jamaica, under God.”
Equal Life Chances and Dignity for All – The Detail
a) Longevity - avoiding premature mortality
b) Physical security - freedom from violence and physical, emotional and sexual abuse;
c) Health - well-being in body and mind and access to high quality health care and health promotion resources;
d) Education - including being able to be creative, to acquire skills and qualifications and having access to training and life-long learning;
e) Standard of living - being able to live with independence and security with sufficient nutrition, clothing, housing, warmth, utilities, social services and transport;
f) Productive and valued activities – including having access to employment, a positive experience in the workplace, positive community opportunities and activity, work/life balance, and being able to care for others;
g) Individual, family and social life - including self-development, having independence and equality in relationships and marriage;
h) Participation, influence and voice - including participation in decision-making and democratic life;
i) Identity, expression and self-respect - including freedom of identity (including gender and sexuality), belief and religion;
j) Legal security - including equality before the law and equal treatment within the criminal justice system.
k) Fair access for children – including equal quality parenting time with both resident and non-resident parent, where this is practically possible and promotes the well-being of the child.
Vernal Equeernox Portfolio features private images from the last few years. I hope you like it. Browse inside on Amazon.
New Group: The Life Group
Facilitator: Vernal Scott
This new social group facilitated by me meets on the first Wednesady each month from 6.30pm to 8pm at 56 Dean Street.
Open to all LGBTQ people, the group's purpose centres on personal and community development, education, self-esteem raising, and fun. Participants will enjoy talks, workshops, presentations, outings and more. We will explore ways to make the most of our lives, through healthy decision-making and life choices.
To sign up to the group or to find out more, contact Vernal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the life of a writer sometimes lots of things happen all at once (and sometimes nothing happens at all). Here is my mini blog: I jot down my thoughts whenever I get a free minute.
The paperback is now avaiable from Amazon, as is the Kindle format. You can also pick up the paperback at Foyles and Gay's The Word Bookstore.
Three of my personal heroes, namely Lord Paul Boateng, Sir Nick Partridge, and Peter Tatchell, have each written awesome forewords for the book, and I am deeply grateful.
In forty-two of the Commonwealth’s fifty-four member states, homosexuality is a criminal offence, and as Britain is at the heart of the Commonwealth, it must continue to show leadership on discrimination issues by condemning sister nationswhere homosexuality remains a criminal offence. Silence on these issues could be interpreted as collusion. In Jamaica, twelve gay men were murdered within a three-month window in 2012, and only this week we hear reports of yet another vicious killing. This time the victim was only seventeen; he was stabbed, hacked and then shot. His body was then dumped on a road. Yes, gay people can soon marry in London, but don't dare have your honeymoon in the Jamaicas of the world. (Edited from the prologue in God's Other Children - A London Memoir - view for free on Amazon). Shame on you, Jamaica, shame on you!
I'm now in East London, and so far so good. Wave if you spot me. LOL
Should I look for a book agent or self-publish? Arghhh...
A Peer and a Knight have agreed to write the forewords for my book. A leading human rights activist has agreed to do the same. Thank you, Sirs!