News

See a list of upcoming readings.

 

Stay tuned!

Contact

Please contact me with your thoughts and comments

 

If you have always wanted to ask me something, now is the time to go for it!
vernalscott@gmail.com

 

You will also find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

My Miniblog

Vernal Scott on Arise News TV. Click the image for the video. Vernal is at 21 mins and 131 mins into the footage
Vernal Scott on Arise TV News with Juliette Foster. He's at 21 mins and 131 mins into the footage. Catch Vernal on Arise on Monday mornings, Sky channel 519. 8 to 10am.

Vernal is a regular commentator on Arise TV News with Juliette Foster. Click the above image to watch a video. He's at 21 mins and 131 mins into the footage.

I'll be talking about the impact of HIV and AIDS. Click the banner for more info.
Click the above image for the podcast of Vernal Scott's address at the LSE. Recorded 26 February 2014

Date: Wednesday 26 February 2014 
Time: 6-7.30pm
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'.

Peter Tatchell and Vernal Scott protest outside the Ugandan High Commission in London

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

Vernal Scott and Linda Bellos were amongst the speakers at this LGBT HM event. Watch the video.
Making LGBT history! Vernal Scott with Linda Bellos, Sue Sanders and fellow speakers at King's College London.

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.

Anti-gay Hate in Nigeria

Making my point about vile new anti-gay laws in Nigeria

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).

LGBT History Month 2014

Vernal Scott with Peter Tatchell @ LGBT History Month Event at capacity crowded Queer Nation
Peter Tatchell introduced Vernal Scott and his book, God's Other Children - A London Memoir, at Queer Nation, London.
Vernal Scott with Peter Tatchell @ Queer Nation, London. 8th February 2014
I'll be on the debate panel with Sue Sanders (LGBT HM) amongst others.

Does it really get better? - Intergenerational Dialogue

When: Friday 21 February 2014 (6.30pm - 9.30pm)

Where: Kings College, London

Author and comedian, Vg Lee will host the panel discussion and debate. Details of the panel coming soon.

Topics to be explored include:

  • What are the priority issues facing young and older LGBT today?
  • Is LGBT political activism still important?
  • Ageism within the LGBT community
  • What impact does music and popular culture have on the experiences of people who are LGBT?
  • Are younger people more inclusive when it comes to the intersection of race and sexuality 
  • What are the things that get better as we grow older? And is there anything that does not get better?
Panel member, Vernal Scott says: "Does it really get better? Yes, it does, but we are a community of people of different backgrounds and experiences; we are not, and never will be, one homogeneous mass. Some of us fair better than others as we journey forward in life, but we'd be unwise not to learn from our past and share our personal stories. That's why I wrote my non-fiction book, God's Other Children - A London memoir. It deals with range of issues that affects all our lives, including sex, coming out, religion and homosexuality, domestic violence, racism in the gay community, HIV and AIDS, gay-parenting, and much more.
 
As the former head of HIV services for a London borough during the height of the challenge in the 80s and 90s, I remember those times as a conveyor belt of death and dying. Our friends and loved ones dropped like flies. Looking at current statistics in respect of new infections, I am very concerned indeed.
 
Overall rates of new infections are on a definite rise in the UK.  6,364 new cases were reported in 2011compared to 2,938 in 1998, and reported infections among gay men are at an all-time high. I often find myself saying, "Oh Lord, did my brothers all die in vain?" It would appear that the success of HIV treatments since 1996 has caused mostly young gay men to ignore the risks and leave their condoms unused in the bedroom drawer. Disco dazed old-timers like me bore them to tears with our annual World AIDS Day tales about the AIDS war years; when getting HIV meant an almost certain early death. Today’s handsome gym-toned young men cannot relate to the catastrophe of which I speak; they’re much more interested in Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and the X-Factor than HIV; which they’ve rightly deduced will not necessarily kill them, even if it’s an irreversible diagnosis. They have no idea about the awaiting reality of a life-long imprisonment of pills, clinics, and of course, the on-going stigma. Once infected, they will suddenly notice the biting, to-the-point, adverts on contact websites by their sex-seeking peers, who proudly state: “I’m disease-free, and you must be, too!” Most of all, they will have to absorb the fact that a failure to take their daily pill will likely result in the demise of the beautiful person in the bathroom mirror, and signal the onset of a horrific AIDS-related death; the death that annoying older fools like me tried to warn them about. Yes, cutie, there is a significant price to pay for anyone with a ‘fuck now – think about it later’, attitude… and, to my annoyance, Gaga and Cyrus played on…

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!"

New Safer Sex Guide for Gay and Bi Men

HIV and STI's are on the rise. Vernal's response is a new coffee or bedside table booklet on why and how to enjoy safer sex. Click the image to browse.

World AIDS Day 2013

World AIDS Day 2013: I'll be reading from my book at this event. Love lives on...

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.

"Constructive Meeting" Held with Jamaican High Commissioner

Her Excellency, the Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK

News Release: 30th October 2013


Vernal Scott, author and equality advisor, today met with Her Excellency, the Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, to discuss ways of addressing LGBT issues in Jamaica. Scott says: "I was very heartened by our meeting. It was warm, honest, and frank, but most of all, it was constructive." Scott continues: "I was particularly pleased that my discussion paper titled, Equal Chances and Dignity For All, which promotes an inclusive, LGBT-friendly Jamaica, was welcomed by Her Excellency. She said she would now forward it on to relevant colleagues within the Jamaican Government for their consideration and input. Scott concludes: "There is no doubt that there was genuine goodwill at today's meeting, but action is what is needed to ensure all Jamaicans can live in dignity and freedom from fear and persecution."
Pan down for details of my discussion paper.
We are looking good on the shelf at Foyles in London's West End. Pssst, we're in the GLBT Studies section.

Farewell to Sir Nick Partridge

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. 

Simon Watney and Tony Whitehead
Simon Watney and Jonathan Grimshaw. We last saw each other in 1991 whilst sharing a stage with Whitney Houston.

Date Set for Meeting with Jamaican High Commission in London

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 action plan.

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.

Vernal

Vision 2030 Jamaica - Proposed Complementary Action Plan

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.”

 

Introduction

  1. This discussion paper recommends the drafting of a fifteen-year Equality and Life Chances action plan, intended to complement and run as an integral component of Vision 2030 Jamaica, the country’s ambitious National Development Plan. Presented to Her Excellency, the Jamaican High Commissioner to London on 30th October 2013, this paper and proposed plan, once agreed and implemented, will improve the life chances and outcomes for all Jamaicans, and, crucially, significantly reduce or eliminate the country’s national debt whilst improving our human rights reputation abroad.

 

  1. Jamaica’s diversity is a strength, and failure to embrace it as such could seriously undermine our very worthy ambitions as set out in Vision 2030 Jamaica. The world is moving towards greater diversity and people will increasingly want to live, work and visit places where they experience freedom, equality, and respect, regardless of their personal identity.  Jamaica (and her Commonwealth sister countries) should not risk being left behind.

 

  1. Some of the most talented business people in the world are women, the disabled, older or younger, married or single, lesbian or gay, parents or non-parents, and people of different religions etc.  It is in Jamaica’s best interest to ensure that it can attract and retain the most talented people, regardless of how they might identify. The business case for equality and diversity is therefore clear and profound.

 

Equal Life Chances and Dignity for All – The Detail

  1. The purpose of the proposed action plan is to ensure equal life chances and dignity for all Jamaicans, based upon on moral, human rights, social justice, and economic principles. The plan is geared towards enhancing the holistic well-being of the individual as well as the communities in which they live. This is because people are not just their age, disability, gender, economic status, health status, marital status, nationality, race, religion or sexuality. They are individuals, but are also part of a wider community.

 

  1. In acknowledgement of Jamaica’s rich diversity and 2030 ambitions, the proposed action plan will seek to improve equality and equal life chances for all nationals, regardless of age, colour, disability, gender, identity, marital status, religion, or sexuality:

 

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. 

New book!

Vernal Equeernox Portfolio features private images from the last few years. I hope you like it. Browse inside on Amazon.

New Group!

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 michael.flaherty@gmfa.org.uk.

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.

Where Can I Get The Paperback?

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.

 

Murders of Gay Men Must Stop

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've Just Moved House

I'm now in East London, and so far so good. Wave if you spot me. LOL

Huge Decision...

Should I look for a book agent or self-publish? Arghhh...

I Got Names

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!