NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — The Live Out Loud Committee at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) invites the Berkshires to the Fourth Annual LGBTQIA+ Live Out Loud Community Conference on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when MCLA welcomes keynote speaker Pat Griffin, a longtime advocate for LGBT equality in sports, who will speak on “Seeking Common Grounds: LGBTQ People and People of Faith in College Athletics.”

Youth, elderly, friends and community members are encouraged to attend this free conference in Murdock Hall at 375 Church St.  This conference is Berkshire County’s annual community conference to strengthen our understanding and advocacy of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/questioning, Intersex, Asexual and allies) population.

The conference will take place throughout Murdock Hall, with registration taking place in room 208. Griffin will deliver the keynote address at 9:40 a.m. in room 218.

Each year, this conference draws upwards of 100 people. Those who attend will learn about and discuss issues of vital interest to the LGBTQIA community.

“We were delighted by the large turnout at our previous conferences, held in Becket in 2014, at MCLA in 2015, and at Berkshire Community College in 2016,” said Amanda Beckwith, conference chair and coordinator of the Identity and Gender Equality Resource Center and Women’s Center at MCLA. “We look forward to the Conference growing to over 100 in attendance this year.”

Presentations, workshops and panel discussions will be held throughout the day. Topics will include: Best Practices and Policies for Creating Inclusive Sports Teams for LGBTQ people; Intersectional Discrimination: Race and Sexual Identity; The Politics of Passing; Lost Voices in Queer History; The LGBTQ Community and Lyme Disease: Inclusiveness in Healthcare Advocacy; More Than Flying a Rainbow Flag: An Introduction to Pastoral Care for LGBTQ+ for Leaders in Faith Communities, and many more.

Live Out Loud is a program that started in 2014 and has been going strong ever since to unite the Berkshires in discussion about LGBTQIA+ populations. The first Live out Loud Conference originated after a community gathering about youth and drug abuse. While community leaders were brainstorming different facets of the issue it became apparent that the Berkshires lacked queer youth support. The original conference was held at Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA in Becket. Since then, Berkshire Community College (BCC) and MCLA hosted this conference.

Lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is encouraged and walk-in attendance is allowed. Registration to attend: conference website:

The Fourth Annual LGBTQIA+ Live Out Loud Community Conference is sponsored by BCC, NAMI Berkshire County, Berkshire Children and Family, Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and MCLA.

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Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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At a Glance:

Event: Fourth Annual Live Out Loud Community Conference

Location: MCLA’s Murdock Hall, 375 Church St.

Date: Saturday, April 8

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.