Isabella Rieger



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Barbra ‘Barb’ Wood is 63 years old and lives in Portland M.E with her partner Carol. Barb realized she was queer her junior year in college when an underclassman that she met at a party took her back to her apartment and kissed her. After this kiss Barb recovered her other queer crushes through her series of romantic friendships with women. After college Barb worked as an insurance inspection agent in the state of Maine and later went on to become a resident of Portland. Barb was instrumental in the creation and distribution of Maine’s first queer newspaper OUR PAPER and would in later years become a founding member of the Maine Lesbian Gay Political Alliance (now Equality Maine) after the murder of Charlie Howard in 1984. Barb also went on to help Dale McCormick with her campaign for senate and won a seat of her own as the first openly lesbian City Counselor in Portland. Throughout her years as an activist and a prominent person in the queer community, Barb discusses her friends, community and many fun nights dancing and organizing—she even speaks about closing down The Underground/Styxx by throwing Penny Rich a grand 70th birthday party.


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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Publication Date

Fall 11-16-2017


Portland, ME


MLGPA, Equality Maine, Our Paper, Lesbian, Gay, Chosen Family, Queer Love, Transgender Activism, Youth, Queer Space, Gay Bars, The Underground, Styxx, Flask, The Gym, Charlie Howard, Portland City Council


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.

Wood, Barb



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