Sarah Freeman-Thibault ’14

Appalachian allowed her to be herself, come out as gay
Friday, November 3, 2017
By Linda Coutant

Sarah Freeman-Thibault ’14 comes from a family of teachers and plans to teach high school civics after she finishes her master’s degree in political science.

Part of why she wants to teach young people is “to encourage students to be comfortable exactly as they are,” said Freeman-Thibault, who came out as gay as an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University.

“Appalachian gave me the courage — in fact, Appalachian encouraged me — to be myself,” she said. “I attended a Catholic high school and it wasn’t until college that I felt I could be myself and accept myself.”

She said she found there’s no predetermined box that students get sorted into on this campus.

“At Appalachian, everyone is different, so everyone can be themselves. There’s no Appalachian ‘normal,’” said Freeman-Thibault.

She chose to return to the university for her master’s degree with the financial support of grants and a graduate assistantship.

Like many college students, straight or LGBTQ, Freeman-Thibault said she fell in love with a fellow student her freshman year. She and the young woman dated throughout college.

While their relationship eventually faded, Freeman-Thibault said the experience gave her the opportunity to realize how well loved and accepted she was by friends and family.

She has since met someone else and gotten married. She and her wife, Victoria Freeman-Thibault, don’t think twice about holding hands in public in Boone and being open about their relationship, she said.

“Appalachian is very welcoming. It’s become my home,” said Freeman-Thibault, originally from Raleigh. “There’s no one who doesn’t come up here and fall in love with Appalachian.”