BSCC History


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BERKSHIRE STONEWALL COMMUNITY COALITION

The Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition began in the mid-1990’s as a group of local activists whose mission was to be able to react cooperatively to negative events impacting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. Early members were from such groups as Wildwomen Sports, the Supper Club, Berkshire Gay and Bisexual Men’s Group, Berkshire Community College, Mass. College of Liberal Arts, Miss Hall’s School, Pittsfield Public Schools, and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). In 1997 we submitted Articles of Organization and documents to become a 501(c)3 group.

But even before becoming a recognized non-profit organization, we recognized the need to offer the community positive and fun events, as well as opportunities for political and educational activities. We really came together as a group in planning the First Annual BSCC Gay and Lesbian Berkshire Festival in April 1996, held at Seven Hills in Lenox. That event included films, exhibits, a silent auction, and a performance by Marjorie Conn of her show “Lorena Hickock and Eleanor Roosevelt: A Love Story”. Barney Frank set the standard for future Festivals by agreeing to be our keynote speaker following dinner. We weren’t sure the community would respond (or even notice!), and were thrilled by the support and participation (over 50 individuals, couples and businesses contributed, and hundreds came for the afternoon or the whole event!)

Our mission from the very beginning has been “to promote the well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people from the Berkshire area”. We accomplished that through the Festivals, dances, films, concerts, open mike poetry readings, monthly potluck dinners, and other events. Before the creation of our website, a bimonthly print calendar mailed to more than 600 households advertised our events and others of interest in the region, provided support information, and reviewed local, national and worldwide news to let subscribers know that times were indeed changing.

Because we believe that outreach is also part of our mission, our activities have also included “Infosocials” on relevant topics such as safe schools, legal issues for couples, adoption and parenting, HIV/AIDS support, issues of concern to transgender people and their families, the “Ex-Gay” movement, and health care. A poster welcoming “GLBT Clients/Patients” was sent to health care providers and human services agencies, and we funded two days of workshops for those organizations on the topic of “Providing Appropriate Services for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Clients/ Patients”. We’ve also sponsored support groups for both adults and young people, to make their coming out a positive experience.

We continue to add to our “History”; we welcome suggestions for projects and events to advance our mission; and we are always grateful for your ideas and help!