The Court System was founded in San Francisco when a group of gay bar owners formed a Tavern Guild in early 1965, as a means to stand in solidarity against the threat of police harassment. The Guild put on its first large public drag ball in San Francisco called the Beaux Arts Ball. In its third year, Jose Julio Sarria, a World War II veteran and the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America (1961), was declared the Queen of the Ball and then proclaimed himself Empress. Thus sparked the birth of the Imperial Court System, which has established itself as a successful fundraising organization. Jose was succeeded in 2007 by Queen Mother I of the Americas Nicole the Great. In August 2013, Jose Julio Sarria passed away at age 91.
The Imperial Court of Western Mass Inc., has been raising funds for community beneficiaries since 2012. Our origins began when founding member Nelson Rafael Roman approached of the already existing Imperial Court of Massachusetts at Boston. Nelson requested to be allowed to develop a new independent and soverign chapter in Western Mass. With the blessing of the membership and college of Monarchs, the Principality of Western Mass was born in February of 2012. The first meeting was attended by 10 individuals in Holyoke, MA. A year later, Queen Mother I of the Americas Nicole the Great formally announced The Principality of Western Mass as a member of the ICS in October 2013.
The Imperial Court of Western Mass in February 2016, at the International Court Council Meeting in San Diego was granted full court chapter status, within the ICS.