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.”
Barbara as the only child of Carrie O’Neap and Milton Foreman.Barbara as a child spending her first years in the country. She shares, “There I would roam on my horse, Prince, with no fences… hours and hours of adventure…”Barbara Scott in high school with her friends. She shares, “I was the editor of the paper and the annual in high school. I enjoyed friends and my life.”Barbara Scott with her sons Mace, Judson, and Shau Scott. She shares, “Though I was married to Michael Scott for 10 years, I was a single mom and the sole support for my three sons. No child support because their mom is a lesbian.” Barbara Scott with her sons Mace, Judson, and Shau Scott. She shares, “Though I was married to Michael Scott for 10 years, I was a single mom and the sole support for my three sons. No child support because their mom is a lesbian.” Barbara Scott during her political campaign. She was the first U.S. candidate to support gay, Afro-American and women rights, as well as marijuana reform. She shares, “the state was dominated by democrats, all very much like Republicans are today.”Barbara Scott and her partner Mary Descry. Barbara shares, “We lived happily for 18 years. She passed away in 1996 from breast cancer.”Barbara Scott laughing with her friends Betty Constant and Chase McEwen. She shares, “I had many, many good times with my girl pals.”Barbara Scott doing water therapy. She shares, “Since the early 80s, I have been an advocate of water therapy and steam/cold baths.”L-R: Barbara Scott, Ann Adams, R. Hahn, Allison Newell, E.R. Smith, Evie Seidman, Dina Landis and Betty Constant in Eureka Springs, AR.Barbara Scott and Chase McEwen, her “dear friend of 48 years.”Barbara Scott holding a sign that reads, “Hold hands instead of pointing fingers”, to celebrate domestic partnership becoming legal in Eureka Springs, AR, 2006. She calls it “a very wonderful community.”A statement by Barbara Scott, “The Republican Candidate for the 96 District”, in DISTAFF, a feminist newspaper she began in 1972. She shares, “it ran for over 15 years, the longest run of any woman paper.”Barbara marrying Myriam Cloutier (from Quebec, Canada) at age 80, 2016.A collage of Barbara Scott, which she calls “various stages of me.”A collage of Barbara throughout the years.
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