I am so happy to bring this Spotlight and Guest post to our followers here at TTC today. Author David C. Dawson has taken part in the Dreamspinner Press Anthology, Love Wins, and is here today to share his story and the real story behind the one he wrote for this charity anthology. Let us never forget our fallen LGBTQ brothers, sisters, allies and friends that lost their lives in a senseless act of violence in Orlando. I know we're all getting ready for the Holidays, so when you say grace this Sunday, please think of those that were called home to God before their bill was due. David's story is moving, touching and will likely bring you to tears.
With time comes healing, but Orlando and the LGBT community are still recovering from last June’s tragedy. To show our ongoing support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this second benefit anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we reaffirm that no matter the obstacle, love always wins.
Looking for George by David C. Dawson
Betty’s innocent crush on actor George Clooney became something more when he saved her from a fall at the hotel she works at in London. When she discovers her Italian holiday trip will take her only a few miles from the actor’s summer villa… well, surely fate means for them to meet again.
A special Guest Post from Author David C. Dawson...
For me this year, the weekend of June 12th, 2016, was the happiest, and the saddest time.
On the Saturday night, I stood on the stage of London’s famous Cadogan Hall with nearly two hundred members of the London Gay Men’s Chorus. Together, we celebrated twenty-five years of the Chorus’ existence. An organization dedicated to ending homophobia and bullying, through the power of music.
It was a triumphant night. The venue was sold out and we moved the audience to a frenzy of delight with our disco medley. We also moved them to tears with Simon & Garfunkel’s classic, Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Just a few hours later, our sense of triumph was lost. We had just heard the news of the murders at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people, some of them as young as nineteen, murdered by a lone gunman. We were stunned. We had no words to express our feelings of grief and horror at what had just happened.
Throughout the Sunday, messages flashed backward and forward between members of the Chorus. We had to do something. We had to show support and solidarity.
By Monday, it was decided. A vigil was organized in Soho for seven o’clock that evening. Soho is the traditional heart of gay London. Two minutes’ silence would be observed for the victims, and then the Chorus would sing Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Some people were worried that there might be further copycat attacks in Soho. After all, in 1999, three men were murdered, when a nail bomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho. A neo-Nazi militant had placed the bomb.
But the overwhelming consensus was that we had to demonstrate solidarity. We had to show strength. We would not be intimidated.
When we arrived in Soho that evening, we were amazed. Old Compton Street, a long road that snakes through Soho, was packed with people. The crowds overflowed into neighboring streets. Thousands upon thousands of ordinary people, wanted to show solidarity with the victims of Orlando. And they wanted to show solidarity with America.
As we found our place in the center of the street, ready to sing, we were handed photographs of the victims. We would hold them up as we sang. I was handed a photograph of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. He was just twenty years old. Three years younger than my son.
We sang Bridge Over Trouble Water. It was difficult. I was full of emotion. We were standing just inches away from our audience. People in front of us had tears streaming down their faces. We sang strong, and as the last verse ended, a cheer rang out across London, and forty-nine balloons were released for the forty-nine victims.
Afterwards, I went with my boyfriend to the nearby churchyard. Hundreds of candles were lit. People knelt or stood before photographs of the victims. This was the churchyard, seventeen years earlier, three trees had been planted for the three victims of the bombing at the Admiral Duncan pub.
Videos of the vigil went viral across the internet. By Tuesday, nearly two million people had seen, and supported, our performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water at the vigil.
The bombing of the Pulse nightclub was a defining point in 2016. For me, in Soho, it showed that thousands upon thousands of people were horrified, and fundamentally opposed to what happened. Millions more supported that view online.
Their message was strong: Love Wins. Always.
David C. Dawson is an author, award-winning journalist and documentary maker, living near Oxford in the UK.
He has travelled extensively, filming in nearly every continent of the world. He has lived in London, Geneva and San Francisco, but now prefers the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.
David is a Mathematics graduate from Southampton University in England. After graduating, he joined the BBC in London as a trainee journalist. He worked in radio newsrooms for several years before moving to television as a documentary director. During the growing AIDS crisis in the late eighties, he is proud to say that he directed the first demonstration of putting on a condom on British television.
After more than twenty years with the BBC, he left to go freelance. He has produced videos for several charities, including Ethiopiaid; which works to end poverty in Ethiopia, and Hestia; a London-based mental health charity.
David has one son, who is also a successful filmmaker.
In his spare time, David tours Europe on his ageing Triumph motorbike and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. He has sung with the Chorus at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall, but David is most proud of the time they sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.
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