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Barry Manson was born in Skowhegan, Maine in 1947. He grew up in Rumford and worked in his father’s grocery store from third grade to high school. Manson shares his story of being an out gay man since the age of 12 and the uncomfortable environment of living in a closed-minded community in Northeast Maine. He briefly attended college in Tampa, Florida then Ricker College in Houlton. While living in Connecticut, he began hitchhiking to New York City on a regular basis to enjoy the city’s theater scene and night life. He moved to New York where his love for theater and partying kept him out until 3 a.m. He returned to Maine in 1969 where he became active in gay rights organizing in his local community of Lewiston and Portland, including being part of the Maine Lesbian Gay Political Alliance which became Equality Maine. He supported his community during the height of the gay civil rights movement, the AIDS epidemic, and during lesbian feminist activism. He discusses the Maine gay bar scene in depth, commenting on bars that no longer exist, such as Roland’s Tavern, the Oasis, Creamos, Cybil’s, and more. Since 1983 he has lived in a farmhouse in Waterboro where he gardens and keeps bees.


Please cite as: Querying the Past: LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project Collection, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ Collection, Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, University of Southern Maine Libraries.

For more information about the Querying the Past: Maine LGBTQ Oral History Project, please contact Dr. Wendy Chapkis.


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Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine

Publication Date

Spring 3-21-2017


University of Southern Maine


Portland, Maine


LGBTQ, Oral History, Maine, Skowhegan Maine, Rumford, New York City, Portland Maine


History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Oral History | Women's Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Manson, Barry



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