Member spotlight | Barbara Minney

by Allyson Smith

“A wife, a poet, a writer, a public speaker, and a quiet activist,” is how Barbara Minney describes herself. 

Barbara transitioned at 63 years old and has been married to her wife for almost 40 years. A few years ago, they presented a workshop on transitioning while married.  

Barbara is also an accomplished poet. 

“Simultaneously, with my transition, I began writing my first collection of poetry, which was entitled, ‘If There’s No Heaven’, and it was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life book award and was published in May of 2020 by Poetry Is Life publishing — which is a local, Akron-based publishing company. It was also selected as one of the best Northeast Ohio Books in 2020 by the Akron Beacon Journal, so that kind of began my poetry career,” she explains. She was also interviewed by The Devil Strip in 2019. 

Barbara also calls herself a “quiet activist”. 

“I don’t presume to advocate for all transgender women, but I certainly advocate for myself by the way I present myself in the communtiy and try to assimilate myself as a transgender woman and a speaker and a writer and a poet,” she says. 

Barbara and her wife have lived in Tallmadge for more than 25 years and her wife grew up in Akron. About a year before the pandemic, they made a resolution to experience more in the community and get out of their comfort zones. 

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“We did a lot of things, met a lot of new people, made a lot of new friends in the art and poetry community, and Akron gave us the opportunity to do that,” she says. “It’s a large enough community that we can have access to those things but it’s not so large that we feel intimidated like when we go to Cleveland.”

When she’s not writing poetry or speaking publicly, Barbara has some unique hobbies. One of her favorite musical artists is Roswell Rudd, an avant-garde jazz trombonist. 

“[It] that drives my wife crazy, which might add to his appeal,” she laughs.

Becoming a member of the co-op was important for Barbara. 

“I think it’s important to have a community-based newspaper like The Devil Strip and I’m happy to support it in any way that I can… I love the contributions that The Devil Strip makes and I want to contribute to it in any way that I can. As a contributor, as a supporter, as a member, and also as a writer, an artist, a poet,” she says.