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Community Organizer and AIDS Activist

William A Scott, LMSW-ACP

On paper Bill Scott was a licensed master social worker and an advanced clinical practitioner. Off paper he often saw a need and saw that it was fulfilled. In early 1978 he gathered together people of diverse professions and backgrounds to discuss a need. And the need was that there was no mental health service in Houston that was both accessible to and accepting of gay men and lesbians. Over the year gay counseling began and the plan carefully became a reality, and in the fall of 1978 Bill Scott, Judy Newson and Ted Hewes filed for incorporation, and the Montrose Counseling Center became a non-profit organization on 12/18/78. Bill Scott was named clinic administrator. That agency has survived and thrived to this day, moving through several locations to its current home, at 401 Branard St in 2007, and changing its name to the Montrose Center in 2013.

For Bill Scott, this was just an early accomplishment. In 1985 he was appointed to a city task force on AIDS by then-Mayor Kathy Whitmire, and in 1988 he was named Social Worker of the Year by the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. In April 1991 he was appointed by then-Governor Ann Richards to the Texas Board of Health, the first openly gay man and openly HIV positive person to win such a position. Also in 1991, he helped found the Houston Institute for the Protection of Youth (HIPY), assisting runaway gay and HIV positive and other youths. In 1992 he was appointed to the Task Force on Human Resources, and in March of 1995 he received one of the Texas Human Rights Foundation's Schwab Awards as Outstanding Appointed Official.

He was on the ground floor of many important organizations, such as being a co-founder of the AIDS Equity League, the KS-AIDS Foundation (now, the AIDS Foundation), and Body Positive Houston.

At the time of his death TSU law professor Gene Harrington said of Scott, "It is very important for people who are HIV-positive to know what he accomplished as a person with HIV...he took his HIV status and just began another period of his life, which was just as successful as before he became HIV-positive."

Bill Scott died on April 4, 1995, at age 46.

Bill Scott Obituary
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