Barb Freeman came out in 1975, mostly through activities at the Ottawa Women’s Center, where she was a regular at the weekly lesbian drop in and also of Lesbians of Ottawa Now (LOON).
Working as a radio journalist and then journalism professor, she advocated quietly from her inside closet for more professional and less biased news coverage of women’s rights, and gay and lesbian rights, as they were known then, and contributed her own articles to the feminist and LGBTQ press.
She was one of the original members of EGALE, but left the organization to concentrate on her recovery from alcoholism (now 30+ years sober), and helping other lesbians do the same. She was a board member and then an outreach volunteer at the Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre and for a time was one of the organizers and attendees of a lesbian support group called New Women in Sobriety. Her new lease on life gave her the courage to be more open and “out“.
In the past 15 years, she’s been a board member and then president of the Lambda Foundation, which raises funds for student research in LGBTQ issues at Canadian universities. As a journalism professor, she has written from a historical perspective on the media and lesbian issues.