- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte LGBTQ+ oral histories
- Robert L. Barret oral history interview 2, 2014 November 11
Robert L. Barret oral history interview 2, 2014 November 11
In this second of three interviews, Dr. Robert L. Barret, professor emeritus in counseling at UNC Charlotte, practicing psychotherapist, and LGBTQ activist, discusses his experiences and perceptions as a gay man in Charlotte, North Carolina during the 1980s and 1990s. Dr. Barret reflects on Charlotte's history as largely conservative regarding LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues, culminating in great fear and closeting among LGBTQ communities. When Dr. Barret returned to Charlotte from Atlanta in 1985, he recognized the need for organizational support of LGBTQ communities, including HIV/AIDS patients. He recalls feeling a desire to serve this community even before he was out as a gay man. In particular he details his work with the Metrolina Aids Project (MAP), which involved educating the public and gay men about safe sex, as well as fundraising for MAP in a hostile political environment. Dr. Barret describes his discomfort seeing so many openly gay men die from AIDS and his concerns that he himself was not living with integrity. He relates how he came out to friends and family in Charlotte, and subsequently moved to San Francisco for a year, where he lived openly as a gay man and explored gay communities and culture. He recounts moving back to Charlotte in 1991 in response to a feeling that more needed to be done there for LGBTQ rights, and he reflects on his attempts to rectify Charlotte's media representations of LGBTQ communities. In addition Dr. Barret also talks about his work at UNC Charlotte, pay discrimination, and his efforts to unite LGBTQ students and faculty.