In July 2017, OUTWORDS interviewed Barbara Scott, a true Southern grande dame lesbienne, at her home in Pass Christian, Mississippi, where Barbara also provided comfortable accommodations for our weary crew. She was the only OUTWORDS interviewee who wrote her own bio, which we present here, lightly edited.
“Born in 1936 and grew up during segregation in Webb, Mississippi, a small town of 526 people. At 18, I went to Japan to study painting with the internationally known artist Hirosho Kado. I returned to Tulane University in New Orleans and that year married Michael Scott. We moved to California, he in the space Industry and me in commercial art. Glorious California, but being an only child, I longed for the South. Lockheed Martin opened in New Orleans and back we came.
“In New Orleans, I could only get a job in my field as secretary/coffee maker. Having been an account executive, no coffee girl for me. Historical restoration became my next career, winning awards in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. I had three sons, Shaun, Mace, and Judson. In 1970, I ran for state representative in my New Orleans district, focusing on women, gays, blacks and marijuana. I came out at 32 (didn’t know till then). After the divorce, I bought the New Orleans Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and advertised it as feminist hotel. We had a club in the basement that catered to gays and straights. Eureka Springs became a mecca to gays and feminists.
“Eureka was a good mountain town to raise my boys. Single mom sole supporter – my ex would not give any support and threatened to take the boys away at any time. I returned to the Mississippi coast for their high school years and met Mary Desobry. We lived together happily and traveled the world. At 47, I went back to Tulane earning four master’s degrees and a PhD in gerontology.
“After 18 years together, my Mary died of cancer. My Mississippi home was destroyed by Katrina. I have since returned to the coast. At 80, I married Myriam Cloutier after a twenty-year romance.
“Because of my life choices, I have experienced HATE, but because of the joy of who I am, that hate withers. I can truly say I’ve had a blessed life. Long friendships, great sons and five grandchildren, but most of all there is no confusion about who I am.”