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Hope Denese Freeman 

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Hope Denese Freeman
Class of 2021 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(She, Her) is 37

The year 2020 feels like a worldwide wake-up call in so many ways. As a leader, I realize the most important thing I have learned and will take forward is…

Patience. Currently, I and my team are shifting outdated practices so that they reflect equity, justice and liberation. We want to be sure that this work is rooted in restorative and transformative approaches. These practices are new for many; we won’t be leaving anyone behind.

Hope Denese Freeman is the director of Tufts University’s LGBT Center and interim director of the Women’s Center where she devotes herself to improving the lives of young people. Born and raised in Boston, she is a graduate of Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies,  and Simmons College School of Management with a Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Non-profit Management. Freeman is “an intellectual powerhouse” with the “courage to challenge harmful institutional structures” and bring about real change, according to her nominator.

Hope Denese Freeman is fast becoming one of the community’s most important thought leaders at the heart of conversations on structures of misogyny, racism and homophobia. Her background as an advocate, educator and community organizer informs her deep insights about the experiences of queer and trans people of color — with particular emphasis on understanding young people. 

Freeman has worked in the public health field since she was a young teen. Her work continued at Boston GLASS, an LGBTQ drop-in center for youth, where she was the Youth Development Coordinator, responsible for creating and facilitating LGBTQ cultural competency training for adult professionals interested in being strongly allied with LGBTQ identifying young people between 13 to 25 years old.

As a certified Family Planner and Crisis Resource specialist, and an HIV counselor and tester trained in harm reduction practices, the RESPECT model and other prevention strategies, she has dedicated her life to being a youth worker. She is passionate about improving the lives of young people through education on health issues, LGBTQ history and affirming young people in LGBTQ communities of color.

Freeman’s mission and core values are expressed through her work to support thriving and surviving among young Black LGBTQ people. She continues to actively encourage the LGBTQ+/SGL community to amplify the voices emanating from Black Trans led organizations across the nation. Historically, Black trans people have been leading movements and setting the example for how to support one another while facing overwhelming challenges. Freeman says “follow their lead” by calling out racism, cissexism, heterosexism, misogynoir, trans-misogynoir, trans-misogyny, and xenophobia in the moment.

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