Sister Roma and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – Free Event and Giveaways

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) are also known as the Order of Perpetual Indulgence (OPI). The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a charity, protest and street performance organization that uses drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance by satirizing issues of gender and morality. At their inception in 1979, a small group of gay men in San Francisco began wearing the attire of nuns in visible situations to draw attention to social conflicts and problems in the Castro District.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have grown throughout the United States of America and are currently organized as an international network of orders. They are mostly a non-profit charity organization that raises money for AIDS, LGBT-related causes and mainstream community service organizations who do a lot of work in San Francisco. They promote safe sex, educate others about the harmful effects of drug use and other risky behaviours. Between 1979 and 2007 the Sisters were credited when they raised over $1 million for various causes. They continue to raise an average of almost $40,000 per year.

Early members of the group, when they are not hiding their masculine features or facial hair, are characterized by San Francisco gay community historian Susan Stryker. Susan Stryker is the embodiment of a gender bender. Their appearance has changed over the years; the nun motif remains the same but it has now been joined with exaggerated make-up that accentuates the rebellion against gender roles and religion. The Sisters have attracted controversy both within and outside the LGBT communities but have received the harshest criticism for obvious parodies of Catholic icons and policies.

One of the most outspoken and highest profile members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is Sister Roma who is hosting a meet and greet in Sydney on the 3rd of March 2017 from 6pm at Park Street Books, Level 2/44 Park Street, Sydney. So come along and meet this iconic drag queen who is an activist for the LGBTQI communities.

 

Womens March San Francisco Image
Photo: Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the Womens March San Francisco

 

Community Involvement

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been involved in various causes including the promotion of safe sex, raising money for HIV/AIDS and breast cancer research. They host important community service activities like the Gay Games, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics and raising the “first legal $1000” for a city proposition to legalize medical marijuana. Sister Roma “There’s No Place like Rome!” organized the “Stop the Violence” campaign in the Castro where the Sisters distributed placards in homes and businesses to signify which were safe places to go and whistles to be used to alert those nearby in case of attack. They have sponsored dances for LGBT youth and given to or worked for a variety of similar objectives.

Over the years the Sisters have been named as saints who are supported by hundreds of people who have helped on various projects behind the scenes. They actively organize projects, coordinate actions, performing at events as an artist or emcee and serve the greater LGBT community in other ways. Sometimes they canonize community heroes who have recently died. It is customary for the Sisters to award sainthood with the addition of an elaborate “saint name”. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence notable saints include:

  • Assassinated San Francisco Supervisor: Harvey Milk
  • California State Senator: Carole Migden
  • Mayor of San Francisco: Gavin Newsom
  • Mayor of New Paltz, New York: Jason West
  • San Francisco Supervisors: Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty
  • General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission: Susan Leal
  • Founder of the Radical Faeries: Harry Hay
  • Authors: Armistead Maupin and Tonne Serah
  • Actresses: Margaret Cho, Ethel Merman and Rosie O’Donnell
  • Professor of Christian Theology at King Alfred’s College, Winchester : Dr Elizabeth Stuart,
  • Medical marijuana activists: Brownie Mary and Ed Rosenthal
  • Film maker and artist, Derek Jarman
  • French photographer: Jean-Baptiste Carhaix
  • Former City Assessor-Recorder of San Francisco: Mabel Teng

Community Activists and Organizers

  • Michael Brandon
  • Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski
  • Mr. Leather Washington 2002: Tony Buff
  • Jackie Forster
  • Peter Tatchell
  • San Francisco photographer who documented the early Sisters: Greg Day
  • The first Chair of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest AIDS charity in Europe: Tony Whitehead
  • Ian Campbell Dunn
  • Lisa Power

Community Drag Icons and Activists

  • Juanita More
  • Trauma Flintstone
  • Connie Champagne
  • Donna Sachet
  • Heklina
  • Peaches Christ

 

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