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San Francisco's Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence
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San Francisco's Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence

Picture of Amanda Jones
Updated: 30 December 2016
San Francisco has always been known for its extremely unique culture, as well as its friendly and welcoming nature. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order made up of queer people of all sexualities, combine the ideals of acceptance, community, and expression in their dedicated work combating prejudice and hatred.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a group of queer nuns (yes, you read that right) who have dedicated their lives to helping fight for what everyone should always have: equal human rights. This all started 1979 when they first appeared on Easter Sunday, where three men marched to a nude beach, and demanded the attention of everyone in the streets.

From there, with more people joining in with them, they kept making appearances and finally created a ‘mission statement – to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt’. In a time when so many refuse to stand up and fight for those who need a voice, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do just that.

Regardless of criticism and hatred, they have continued stronger and stronger with every appearance. They held the first AIDS fundraiser, and during the first major STD scare they had registered nurses join them and created the first safe sex pamphlet called ‘Play Fair’.

The process of joining the Sisters is intensive in itself. Being a part of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a lifetime commitment, and prospective members stay behind the scenes for months to learn the ins and outs of the organization, and go through to process of being a postulant to a novice, to a fully fledged member.

Behind the seriousness of their association is a stream of irony, especially when it comes to the sister’s appearance and names. Challenging gender norms, they wear exaggerated makeup, taking names such as Sister Anita Blowjob and Sister GladAss.

As new members joined, the group quickly grew, and there are now houses all over the world with over 600 members working diligently to stand for the LGBT community. To date, they have raised over $1 million dollars for an assortment of causes, as well as holding the first AIDS Candlelight Vigil, which has become a coveted international event.

Stronger than ever and with no sign of slowing down anywhere in the near future, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an organization that has turned heads and forced people to open their hearts and accept everyone for who they are, and not just what they look like.