Barry has been active in the gay community in Ottawa since 1979, when he joined the Board of Gays of Ottawa, Ottawa’s first gay liberation organization. He was a counsellor on the Gayline, (a peer-counselling service) for 22 years. He served on the Board of Pink Triangle Services from 1984 to 1989 where he founded the men’s Coming Out Right Group, organized the annual fundraising campaign, and with the Training Committee participated in anti-homophobia workshops, including the Ottawa Police. He later returned to PTS as President from 1995 to 2001.
From 1982 until 1989 he was a director on the board of Centretown Community Health Centre representing the LGBT community.
In July of 1985 he and Bob Read, a fellow-director of PTS, founded the AIDS Committee of Ottawa remained with ACO for 7 years, the last three as President. With ACO he founded and coordinated the Buddies and became the first Chair of the Ontario AIDS Network. He was honoured for his work in the early days of AIDS by being awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 1990. From 1991 to 2001 he sat on the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS which advised the Minister of Health on policies and issues concerning AIDS.
Nationally, he sat on the National Reference Group of Health Canada to rejuvenate HIV Prevention for Gay Men from 1998 to 2002, producing the document Valuing Men’s Lives. He was a founding member of the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition and remained on the board from 2002 until 2005.
More recently, he turned his attention to gay men’s health generally, chairing the Ottawa Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative from 2002 until 2014, and with allies founded GayZoneGaie, a men’s sexual health clinic in 2008 and was co-chair for the first 10 years. He was a founding member of the Ottawa Senior Pride Network in which he remains actively involved. He is also a representation of Senior Pride on the Mayor’s Seniors’ Round Table.