God's Other Children - A London Memoir Paperback – 22 Jul 2013
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About the Author
Born at St Mary’s Hospital, London, author Vernal Scott is a gay dad, ex man of faith, diversity and human rights consultant, ‘McKenzie Friend’ in family court, zestful keynote speaker, media commentator, and facilitator of workshops dealing with the issues raised in this, his distinctive debut. He also provides confidential support to public and private individuals dealing with sexuality, ‘coming out’, and sexual health issues, including HIV. Vernal has over twenty-five years’ experience in public sector management, working on the full range of equality/diversity characteristics. In the mid-80s he launched the People's (multi-cultural) Group at the London Lesbian & Gay Centre, and later founded the Black Communities AIDS Team. In ‘87 he was appointed Head of HIV services for Brent, and in 2003, he joined Islington as their Head of Equality and Diversity. Today, Vernal is connected to a range of projects and companies, including eLearning specialists Marshall ACM, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, various charities and public sector organisations.
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From Seven Sisters to Pond Street, Soho to the Garden Gate Vernal's story took me through a life story, in the very streets I have lived and worked, juxtaposed with an upbeat soundtrack that I realise is shared by many. I seemingly have been moving in the shadows of this inspirational figure without knowing of the profound impact he has had on the community that this autobiography reveals.
During my 80's childhood I would be aware, but not fully understand the HIV and AIDS crisis that plagued the news and media, that would take lives of family friends and celebrity favourites. It wouldn't be until later in life I would truly know the impact of the disease, at a time when finance and medicine would have advanced to give those affected a different reality to that which had savaged voiceless communities in earlier decades. Through limited media portrayals, and more easily through literature I have read many accounts of the crisis over the years, none however as raw and needed as Vernal's account.
Unlike the untold celebrity memoirs released every year revealing little in terms of a lives lived or any real positive portrayal on providing the public something meaningful, God's Other Children exposes into our consciousness little discussed issues impacting the black LGBT and heterosexual community, the wider gay community in dealing with crisis and media ignorance and the difficulties faced by single fathers in an unjust system in the UK.
Individually these challenges would be enough to suffocate their victims and claim the lives of people isolated and unsupported with no access to help or knowledge of how to access it. To navigate a through a lifetime of a traumatic triple thread of discrimination and loss, Vernal reveals a strength to overcome a continuous stream of obstacles with an incredible outlook and energy to continually support people facing adversities through sexuality, culture and parenthood.
What has been the most incredible life to read about, to shed tears for, and find strength from, Vernal's story is shared with us in his own words as 'our' story not just his own. A heroic gesture in my book in a world where we find such self-importance in today's 'why me? what about me? what's in it for me?' modern culture.
This book is a lesson in history, community and psychology,with a healthy dose of life coaching to a backdrop of Disco classics that create a soundtrack to the black and LGBT community during times when it was a sole solace for the author, through a journey to ensure we are all seen under the reflections of the glitter ball and not left forgotten alone in the dark.
A Beautiful Memoir. An Inspirational Life. An Amazing Man. I will treasure the honour of having met an unsung icon of London and the Community. A community in which I have not always felt as though I belong and now acknowledge through Vernal's truth, is felt and experienced by many of us, behind the lights, behind the music, behind the disco. I highly recommend you find the time to absorb this book and with its readership the respect and remembrance to every individual ravaged by ignorance can be resurrected in a younger generation whose reality is not exposed to the history of those who lived and died before them so that our dance will survive.
Thank You Vernal Scott.
The book is lengthy at 567 pages but I would advise anyone not to be put off by this as Vernal's writing style engages the reader throughout.