Rainbow Seniors joins with Adams Council on Aging for Fall Foliage Picnic Oct. 5

A free and fabulous fall foliage picnic will take place on October 5, 2016 at the Adams Senior Center (the former Visitor’s Center) at 3 Hoosac Street in Adams. This will be a very special picnic, with freshly roasted pulled pork being the main menu item. The food and conversation will be more lively and richer than usual as this picnic combines a number of new elements to bring seniors from different backgrounds and towns together.

If you plan to attend, RSVP by October 4 to 413-743-8333. See you there!

Sponsored by the Adams Council on Aging, Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County, and the Berkshire-Taconic’s Foundation Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire and Savoy, the picnic will take place from noon to 2pm on Wednesday, October 5.

In addition to great food and interesting people, there will be music and memories in the air as well. This is a great chance to enjoy the great outdoors during the most glorious time of the year in the Berkshires. And should it rain, well, the shelter of the Senior Center is the alternative location in case of uncooperative weather.

For more information, call Ed Sedarbaum at 413-441-6006.

Ed Sedarbaum, Rainbow Seniors honored by Berkshire Magazine

Ed Sedarbaum is recognized for his work on behalf of the LGBT community.
Ed Sedarbaum is recognized for his work on behalf of the LGBT community.

When Berkshire Magazine decided to honor the 25 people who are “The Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential of the Berkshires” in 2016 (their third year of recognizing the areas movers and shakers) they included our own Ed Sedarbaum. He has spent the past year bringing LGBT seniors together after decades of being virtually invisible, and Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County continues to grow with regular meetings in Williamstown and Pittsfield.

At a ceremony attended by about 250 guests at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Berkshire Magazine honored the wide range of people who make us unique, and their work that improves and enhances our homes, lives, lands, schools, healthcare, business, fine arts, security, and more.

Says Ed: “It’s gratifying to see how warmly the LGBT community of elders has been welcomed and supported in an area as rural as ours. The isolation that was once a fact of life is being replaced by monthly meetings and special events, often with our extended family of friends and allies.”

In making the award, Berkshire Magazine said: “Ed Sedarbaum of Williamstown is known for his tireless work promoting LGBTQ Senior awareness. He runs the Berkshires Rainbow Seniors, which is dedicated to creating safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ senior community. In addition, he made a big splash this year when he spoke at Pittsfield’s Park Square at the vigil for the 49 victims gunned down in Orlando. Community members would agree that Sedarbaum’s passion and determination has had a positive impact on area residents.”

To read about the awards, and the other 24 recipients, visit Berkshire Magazine’s blogspot, townvibe.com

A perfect day for a picnic


To all those who helped plan and run the Rainbow Seniors picnic at the ski lodge in the Pittsfield State Forest, our thanks. The day was sunny, temperate and delightfully breezy, the food exceptional and the company both delightful and entertaining. A good time was had by all. It’s our hope that these photos will keep those memories alive forever. Thanks to Alan Kousan for sharing his photos with us.

Rainbow Seniors Potluck Celebrates its First Birthday September 20 in Williamstown

A yummy first anniversary is being prepared.
A yummy first anniversary is being prepared.

You know it is going to be a fab-u-lous meeting when we gather at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown for our First Anniversary Potluck, at noon, September 20, 2016. Bring your own hot or cold dish and join us as we remember when we all met each other for the first time.

Here’s a historic video from an early gathering at the home of Carlos and Alan:

Third Tuesdays are the regular day to join us in Williamstown for a potluck lunch. They take place at the First Congregational Church on Route 2, right in the center of town. It’s the big white church on the hill, the address is 906 Main Street, and you enter from the side, on Chapin Hill Road. There is a parking lot right behind the church. (Pick up the parking permit from the church office). You will enjoy the friendly group which gathers there monthly.

In Pittsfield, the gatherings are on the first Saturday each month at the Berkshire Athenaeum Conference Room from 2-4pm and there in parking available.

For more information – or answers to any questions or concerns – give a call to Ed Sedarbaum, our organizer and founder, at 413-441-6006 or send him an email at rainbowseniorsbc@gmail.com

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Well attended Candidates Forum answers many questions

Holding a candidate’s forum on a holiday weekend afternoon seemed counter-intuitive. Even with the bright sun shining, more than fifty folks from the Berkshire Rainbow Seniors and Age Friendly Berkshires spent Saturday afternoon at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield where all the candidates for contested seats showed up and answered questions related to topics and issues of concern to the diverse groups. The primary election takes place this Thursday, September 8, 2016.

Above are some of the photos snapped by Stephanie Zollshan of The Berkshire Eagle.

Rainbow Seniors Barbeque and Picnic Sunday September 11 in Pittsfield State Forest

Organized for us by the resourceful Abraham Castillo, the location of our post-Labor Day picnic is the all-weather Ski Lodge located in the Pittsfield State Forest. Here’s a chance for LGBTQ members to rest, relax and share memories of the busy summer which is rapidly drawing to a close.

It’s an outdoor potluck, so bring something for yourself and to share with others. Hot dogs and burgers are traditional of course, but so are Tofu burgers and perhaps some marinated chicken legs. Don’t forget the pickles, ketchup   and napkins.

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Rainbow Seniors attend “Tribes” at Barrington Stage Company, meet deaf, gay actor Joshua Castille

Joshua Castille
Joshua Castille

The play Tribes at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield tells the story of a young man growing up deaf in a hearing family. The parallels to growing up gay, lesbian or trans in a straight household are astonishing. When tickets became available to Rainbow Seniors, almost two dozen of us made our way to not only see the play, but then stayed for the talkback immediately following in which the actors shared their experiences in coming to grips with the ground breaking show that has spoken, signed and captioned elements.

The lead actor, Joshua Castille, who is both deaf and gay capped that evening’s performance and talkback by sitting down with Berkshire on Stage to talk about both deaf and gay issues. You can read his candid and sometimes eye-opening comments in this interview.

Be technicolor in a monochromatic moment” – Joshua Castille

Josh Castille is an actor, known for his film and tv work in Passengers (2015), Sign (2016) and Switched at Birth (2011). He recently completed a run on Broadway in Deaf West’s signed/sung version of Spring Awakening in which he played Ernst, the gay character.

AARP says: “older gays and lesbians will face unique challenges as they age.”

LGBT Advocate looks at the future for Rainbow Seniors

Michael Adams is executive director of SAGE, the nation’s largest and oldest organization working to improve life for LGBT older adults.

America’s older population is growing, and so is the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults who are moving into their later years. In the next several decades, LGBT adults age 65 and above is expected to double, reaching more than 3 million by 2030.

Older gays and lesbians are half as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to have family to lean on for elder care.


In my job as executive director of SAGE (that’s for Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders), I’m constantly hearing about the unique challenges facing our community. These are the five main things we need to change if we want our society to be prepared for the full diversity of its aging population.

There are five main areas covered in this story:

1. Basic Health Care 

2. Caregiving Issues

3. Financial Insecurity

4. Social Isolation

5. Access to Aging Services


More proof that groups like ours are needed


The Williams Institute Releases New Report on LGBT Older Adults Highlighting Isolation, Discrimination, and Health Disparities  
Report is basis for recommendations that federal agency target resources to LGBT seniors

In LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications, Soon Kyu Choi and Ilan H. Meyer provide a review of what is known about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) older adults.

Some key findings include:

  • Researchers estimate that there are over 2.4 million LGBT older adults over age 50 in the U.S., with the expectation that this number will double by 2030
  • Older lesbians, bisexual, and gay men have higher prevalences of mental health problems, disability, and disease and physical limitations than older heterosexual people
  • Transgender older adults are also at higher risk for poor physical health, disability, and depressive symptoms compared to cisgender adults
  • LGBT older adults are also resilient and find support through chosen families and informal support networks such as LGBT community organizations and religious networks
  • LGBT older adults need to be recognized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) as a “greatest social need” group, opening up important funding avenues to prioritize services for this group
  • Anti-discrimination legislation and expanding the definition of family to include families of choice are policies that should be taken into consideration
  • LGBT older adults are a growing population likely in need of more frequent health care and social support. Culturally sensitive training for service providers could be critical in alleviating expectations of and experiences of discrimination that many LGBT older adults fear when seeking help

In addition, the LGBT Aging report was the basis for the submission of recommendations by several Williams Institute scholars to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).  ACL is considering new guidelines for the targeting of resources to older Americans who have the greatest social and economic need.

The Williams Institute’s submission to the ACL highlighted research on the ways in which discrimination and stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity can limit the degree to which older LGBT adults experience full inclusion in society and are able to access available services and supports.