- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte LGBTQ+ oral histories
- Robert L. Barret oral history interview 1, 2014 October 1
Robert L. Barret oral history interview 1, 2014 October 1
In this first of three interviews, Dr. Robert L. Barret, professor emeritus in counseling at UNC Charlotte, practicing psychotherapist, and LGBTQ activist, discusses his life and career changes that led up to his involvement as an advocate for sexual minorities in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Barret describes his early life and his family background in Dyersburg and Memphis, Tennessee and how he became aware of racism and social injustice. He discusses his involvement as a member of the student government at Rhodes College, including efforts to collaborate with African American colleges in student events in the late 1950s. Dr. Barret explains that although he had an intuitive feeling that he was attracted to males from a young age, he had no homosexual relationship guidance or gay role models. After leaving college, Dr. Barret followed a heternormative path of marriage. Dr. Barret describes the various career paths that eventually led him to pursue his Masters degree in Counseling from UNC Charlotte in 1974, under the mentorship of Sister Mary Thomas Burke, and his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University in 1979. Dr. Barret explains that an internship brought him back to the UNC Charlotte Counseling Center, and that he started volunteering to help people with AIDS in the mid-1980s. Dr. Barret describes how he started working with the Metrolina AIDS Project, Charlotte's first AIDS service organization. He relates how his community work influenced his professional interests, and he describes his national and international work in Psychology dealing with AIDS. Dr. Barret also discusses the breakup of his marriage, his realization about his own repressed sexuality, and his personal experience with the process of coming out.