The 21st Life Ball held each year in Vienna, the largest AIDS fundraiser in all of Europe. This is the 4th year San Francisco has been invited. Sister Vish initially arranged it with the Austrian Sister documentary producer, and Sister Roma and Sister Flatulina went the first year, Flatulina continued on year two and then brought Sister Risqué, Sister Vish, and Sister Pat N Leather last year, again Risqué attended this year, bringing Sister Sistah, Sister Flora, and Sister Saki.
Life Ball has a charted Life Ball plane from JFK to Vienna on Austrian Air. The celebrities this year were Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), Barbara Eden as I Dream of Jeanie, Carmen Electra, George Lucas, and Adam Lambert who is a personal friend of Sister Flora since before he made it big on American Idol. Adam had never seen Flora in face before this trip. Also at Life Ball was Bill Clinton, Eva Longoria, and the list goes on.
I’m baaaaack! This time I’m here to tell you all about a fabulous company located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada called Pinky’s Nails. I have to give a huge SHOUT OUT and thank you to my friends Isis Mirage and Coco Ferocha for introducing me to the incredible work coming out of Pinky’s.
Inspired by London, UK’s famous WAH Nails, tattoo artist Lizzie Renaud opened her own shop in Toronto to satisfy a niche market that wanted outrageous nails without the outrageous price tag (or poor quality associated with the traditional salons in the area). She also wanted a salon men wouldn’t be afraid to go to. I don’t want to get it twisted – the girl next door can drop into Pinky’s for her subtle French manicure…but a 6’5” Drag Nun wanting intricate claws can feel equally at home.
Nails by Justin at Pinky’s Nails
Nails by Lizzie at Pinky’s Nails
Now, most of us are going to want to put these nails on and take them off the same night so there are two different products you can use to do that. My preferred is Ulta Tabs (thanks to Coco for tipping me off to them). They go on fast and come off easily – though your nails WILL stay in place all night just fine. To remove your nails, you press on them and slide them off the nail. The Ulta Tab will either roll off with the nail or stay on your nail bed and can be easily rolled off, leaving your natural nails beneath undamaged.
Another way (which Lizzie suggests) is to use Glue Dots that you’d find at Michael’s or a similar craft store and are generally used for scrapbooking. This would require you to soak your hands in cold water to loosen the Glue Dot at the end of the night. I don’t know about you, but when I’m home and it’s 2 in the morning, I just want to get out of face and go to bed. But for Pride or a similar all day event you may want the Glue Dots for that extra secure hold.
I hope this finds you Well and Blessed
Many of you have asked about Lost N Found, that was founded by the Atlanta Sisters, So I talked with Sister T’Keela and agreed that the Fabulous “One Veil” was the venue to accomplish this. Towards the end of the Article you will see why.
As a Sister and Activist in the Atlanta Area, I was tasked with reaching out to Gay men to talk about Safe Sex – I LOVED THAT JOB.
While doing so, I realized it was hard to get to talk with the younger gays and decided to focus on Homeless Gay Youth. I reached out to a fellow activist and started helping out at “Stand Up For Kids” a wonderful organization. We did Street Outreach, actually going out on the street, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, and shelters.
It was a very eye opening experience, every conversation, I asked why they had not contacted a certain agency in town that the Queer Community had raised Millions of dollars over the past decade. The answer was always the same, they won’t answer the phone. Knowing that youths can embellish sometimes, I approached the social workers at the shelters and asked the same question. They laughed in my face, explaining the same thing and said that IF any youth got into their program it was because they had just came out of a Foster Program – which provides a steady stream of income for the agency.
Well as you can imagine, My SISTER side starting kicking in and not the GOOD RAPTURE but the DARK RAPTURE. I reached out to other activists to see what they knew of the problem and was always told that while it was true, there was nothing that could be done because the agency would just drag out one of their “A” Gays and discredit me and my activism. For those of you that know or have met me, I don’t like taking NO for answer to an injustice. I continued talking with activists and finally got 4 that were willing to stand by my side.
Together, we reached out to the Agency in question and set up a meeting. We pulled their financials and realized that the funds being raised for them to take care of the problem were being put into their general fund and not designed to help the LGBT youth it had been raised for. We were told things like – “Oh we don’t separate those youths from others”. We stated to them that when our youth are put in in the general population, they were bullied and a lot of times abused. When asked the number of our youth they helped, they could not give us an answer. We were basically patted on the back and sent on our way. Again Dark Rapture breathed a little more life.
We decided to do more research to address the problem, which we thought would take a couple of months. I started raising money for Stand Up For Kids, at the first event,(Drag Bingo with a local ICON at a Pizza Place), I was approached by a big ole Leather Daddy after.
He had heard I was trying to help Homeless Queer Youth and he had a kid that he found behind a dumpster. The youth in question had been living there for about a month, had gotten a cut on his leg that became very infected and had to be admitted into hospital. The youth’s time was up the next day and the leatherman wanted to know if I had any pull with the agency previously discussed. I explained that unfortunately I did not but could try and see if I could find a place elsewhere.
The next night I was at another fundraising event and two youths showed up and asked to speak to me after. I met with them after thinking they wanted to know more about the SISTERs. It appeared that word on the street was that a old sissy that dresses as a nun actually cared and was trying to help queer youths in need. They said that they were OK because they were sharing a room with a CREEPER but they had a friend that needed help. I told them that I would see what I could do and to contact me later.
I was overwhelmed by what I was witnessing; I went into the empty dressing room and cried. I then prayed to the goddess and simply asked, “Is this what you want me to do with my life – if so give me the strength and fortitude to make it happen. Send me a sign and they will be done.” I had no longer said amen, awomyn, whenmy phone rang, another kid need help.
I went home and explained all this to my wonderful partner of 19 years, Sissy Sweet Tea – who said “Do What You Need To Do”. That night, I called all the activists that supported me thus far and explained that we needed to tackle this head on, call a town hall meeting in two weeks. They hesitated because we couldn’t raise monies for lack of a 501(c)3, I explained that I had a thought and would contact them tomorrow evening.
The next night was the SISTERs meeting. I explained to my SISTERs the situation and that it had to be dealt with. Needless to say, my SISTERs stepped up and said to make it happen and they would umbrella us as long as we needed.
A LOT of stuff happened next - but the meeting was called and held, the community, the press, and the agencies came and listened and then the yelling started. We were blessed to have several SISTERs there which helped to calm me, one of which was MISH. I looked at her and she simply nodded her head. It was that sign at that point, that I made it happen – DARK RAPTURE was released and for every assault they threw at us I was able to counter. Things quickly changed, the community was behind us not them and it stayed that way for the rest of the meeting. Their officers couldn’t change it and neither could their “A” Gays, the truth was out and not going back in the bottle. We let the community know that if they trusted us and gave us money to handle it, our Homeless Youth would be taken care of. When we walked out of the meeting with an activated hotline for the youths to call and $3k in seed money.
SAINT LOST N FOUND was formed and on its way. Since that fateful day a year and a half ago, we have become a full 501(c)3, changed the name to LOST N FOUND, so youths won’t associate us with the religious crazies and most importantly – We have helped over 184 youths as of this writing.
That brings to the next step and where I need the help of SISTERs from around the world.
In the past year and a half, we have noticed that we need to ramp up the services for the youth. We take every call, text, email, 24/7 but only have 6 beds at any time.
This past week we held a Capital Campaign Launch, where we invited the community in for cocktails and eats. It was typical for an event like that until we asked them to join us in the next room where we invited them to “OUR WORLD”.
Upon entering they needed a flashlight to transverse down a dark hallway over a door on the floor with NO TRESSPASSING sign. The hallway opened into the main bar, which the Board and Volunteers had transferred into a squat. There was trash everywhere, with Tents, Couch Surfing, and actual Street scenes all over the room. The food was actually served out of trashcan lids with trashcans overflowing. We had actors planted that mixed and mingled with the guests and told horror stories of our youth as they were they own. So many people busted into tears, that I lost count. One part of the bar had vignettes that showed the levels we are pursuing next. We wanted to push them out of their comfort zones and make them realize this was not acceptable for our youth. It worked!
Lost N Found needs to do the following…
Continue to expand on Street Outreach
This will allow us to keep a pulse on the 400+ LGBT youth on the street in our city
Open a Drop In Center
Some youth are simply not ready to come off the street yet but this allows a safe place for them to get info, docs, look for jobs, a meal, a shower, wash their clothes. It also allows us to offer emergency shelter when the weather is really bad.
Expand our current Transition Housing from 6 to 18+ beds for the youths that are new to the streets and can come and learn to fend for themselves as well as the youths that are ready to leave the streets behind.
Open a Thrift Store
This would allow us to manage the vast amount of clothes and furniture that is donated to us. It also allows us to give youths in need clothes a chance to work and gain experience, as well as money to start saving for their own place.
What the cost for all this – you ask?
One Million Dollars is the goal set forth by the board. I see you girls clutching your pearls and crucifixes but you have to believe that this is attainable because it is needed. Why should you or your SISTERs care or even consider helping. That’s Simple – We get calls from all over the nation and emails from all over the world because chances are, there isn’t a LOST N FOUND in your neck of the woods. We ALWAYS try to find them resources in their area and never encourage them to come here but they almost always do.
If every one of you that cares posted this to your Facebook and got 5 friends to donate $5 dollars and they told 5 friends, we would be ahead of the curve.
If a House wanted to set a goal and raise X amount of money, you could do that.
Look in your hearts and see what you can do to help a SISTER out. We do this because we are community funded. Government funding doesn’t allow us to house couples or target the specific LGBTQI demographic – so I say Fuck ‘Em, we will take care of our own.
Come On My SISTERs – whos ready to change one of our youth’s life for the BETTER!
Sister Rapture Divine Cox
The San Francisco
Creme de bananas
In a tall glass put in a few ice cubes. Fill the vodka over the ice, then pour in orange juice then the “creme” to end, slowly pour the grenadine down the inside of the glass . Garnish with orange wedge , cherry or strawberry !
In the beginning the local queer townsfolk were hidden in the great green mist that hung over Humboldt County. Then, as tradition each year, on the great day of “Pride”, the Great Spirit cleared the skies. Out of the mist appeared the great messengers of joy, the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. These nuns from afar came forth to bless the 2003 festival of Pride.
And the townsfolk were touched by the “calling” as well as the Sisters. They beseeched the Russian River Order to take them under their veils and to teach the ways of community outreach and activism without shame.
So it was, that Sister Nova Nilla became their mother and gave birth in the city of Eureka to the 11 founding members who came to be known as the Eureka Sisters, Inc. Abbey of the Big Red Wood.
Since then, the Eureka Sisters have gone forth to spread joy to those who have none and expiate stigmatic guilt of all through community outreach, education, and a little naughtiness.
The Abbey made their first appearance at the Humboldt State University’s “Qross Qultural Queer Film Festival” on March 21. Our local Pride is in September and we have had Bat-N-Rouge Drag Saftball for three yoears, and have worked on many Bingos.
Sister Amanda Hugginkiss, Sister Bo D. Fatwa, Sister Desi Groan, Sister Lupita Phaheta Buffet, Sister Nida Salivation, Sister Fellata Immacualta, Sister Sinful Sin, Sister B’Ouncee, Sister Saturnalia, Sister Juana Little, Sister Domodora DeeFaerie Boys, Father Oh Mary! and Sister Fawn D’Amen founded our house.
What is your full name and when did you become fully professed?
My name is Sister Nova China and I took my Vows on Samhain Bingo, 2011
Who is, or who do you consider your Big Sister or Mother to be within the SPI organization?
In our house we have 3 big sisters and a mother. Sister Fawn D’Amen is my Biggest Sister (judging solely by capacity: her heart) and Father Oh Mary! Is also my Big Sister (Judging with regards to Stature) and Sister Saturnalia is My Mother, she was also my big Sister as a Postulant (I got my name from her exclamation upon my birth!).
How has the relationship with your Big Sister/Mother influenced your Sister journey?
Sister Saturnalia has the most enchanting smile. It was her noble kindness which inspired my service. She is soft spoken and has other’s needs held before her own. It is her devotion to relationship; friends, family, and stranger that serves as my landmark for who I want to be. It is her sincere authenticity that drives how I want to enact relationship. So, it was role-modeling and attentive support that were most valuable to me. Often my Big Sisters are there in my life, offering advice, a caring shoulder, or becoming a dominatrix to put me in my place. Sister Fawn and Father Oh Mary! have helped me to be able to look beyond circumstance and negotiate practical milestones.
How often does the Eureka house have general membership meetings, and how long do they usually last?
Eureka has a monthly meeting on the 3rd Sunday of every month at 9 am and they run between 2 and a half to 4 hours.
What do you find most challenging when attending a GM meeting? (explain)
Challenging is a euphemism right? I think the most challenging thing about our General Membership meetings is getting and keeping everyone’s attention and involvement. Our GMs have a lot of content. We have become careful to stay on topic. I am thankful for the wit and jabs that my Sisters punctuate the meetings with, since it offers moments of Gestalt clarity about our mission, Fun…we have to have it in the GM too.
Since the day you joined SPI, what are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed or witnessed in both the organization and yourself?
When I joined SPI, it seemed that the group was fund raising and business oriented with fun and pseudo-religious themes fulfilling some of the interpersonal needs of the group. Since that time, the house went through a couple of unexpected bumps and we have had to learn about ourselves as individuals and to respect and trust one another. We learned that the progress period toward membership is not just a way to challenge growth, but a time to foster this trust and supportive relationships. We have recently completely overhauled the processes of matriculation toward empowering the new Nun, and re-centering the onus of responsibility for the relationships on to the Big Sisters. Relationship has become the driving force of our process.
Since I have been involved, I have learned who I am. This organization provided me a place to learn about myself as a leader. In that regard, for the purpose of forging new relationships with the community, I took on a commission with the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission. It was the Sisters who are responsible for my meeting my Partner of 4 years. And it is the Sisters who have been a driving force in my academic career. I am earning a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies and a Minor in Social Advocacy and Graduate in May. A great amount of the core work for my degree had to do with papers on the topic of the Sisters. I learned how to speak publicly and to take on advocacy work without shame.
If you could change anything about your journey to full profession, what would that be and why?
I attended Conclave at Russian River as an Aspirant, I was White-veiled at Dolores Park on the 30th Anniversary and I took my Vows on Samhain two years ago… I have been included in much of the shaping policies since I was a Postulant when I reworked the bylaws with then Vice President Sister Fawn D’Amen. It took me four years for my journey to take place. So when I think what could have been better, I would have bought shoes that fit. I am serious about that.
As the vice president of the Eureka house, what are your expectations or goals of the house for 2013?
We are completely revising our infrastructure, process and finally codifying procedure. As I stated earlier, we are refocusing on our interpersonal relationships, and are changing our focus for Pride week in September. The Mistress of Novices is focusing on team building by fostering relationships between Postulants and Novices with Sponsoring Big Sisters who assist with the process of progression, which includes an intimate knowledge of the Novice Project being accomplished by their new Sisters.
What is the best part of being the Mistress of Novices for your house, and what would you say is your least favorite part?
The best part of being the Mistress of Novices is to be taking such a central role in helping others toward obtaining their goal of being a Nun. Supporting them in their work, to help them face difficulties and work things out between all the members is really a blessing to me. I just began the position in February and so I am learning the ropes. So far, the time requirement is a bit of a surprise, but not unmanageable, so I guess the hardest part is trying to figure out how to guide people through their own personal journeys. This is amazing work and worth every minute.
What are you currently most excited about?
I am currently most excited about resurgence in interest to foster friendships within the order. A refocusing on spiritual needs and on caring. Fund raising is important and community is important, but this intimate interpersonal work between us is what keeps this going.
If you were asked to give advice to a mission house that was going through the process of becoming a fully professed house, what would that advice be?
Before you put on the paint, take off your masks. This work is real, the people we help need help; we help because we needed help. Be real. I cannot stress enough how our personal comfort zones get in the way of this work. If I cannot hug a homeless person, I need to hug a homeless person. If I cannot accept someone because they are lying about who they are, I need to assess why they would hide; what am I fighting against? Stigmatic Guilt. Challenge yourself to love the person inside.
What does being an SPI member mean to you, personally?
When I was growing up I wanted to be a minister. I came out and lost my direction, lost that dream (I was a Fundamentalist Christian). I spent years trying to find work that would fulfill that vocation (my theology is such that a vocation is a calling from God/dess). As I live as a Sister, I find I am actually doing all of the work I would have done as a Minister. I am also becoming that minister, the degree, the work, the people, the help. This is what I was sent out in the world to do. We often explain that as Sisters we are a non-religious order. However, this is the most Spiritually Aware group of people I have ever encountered, where people and service to the community is above deity.
In one word, give your description of the SPI organization.
Dear Family and Friends,
Please give me your Sister name and when you became fully professed.
Father Oh Mary! September 2007
When and how did you first hear of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence organization?
My husband and I were invited to a bingo being given in association with Queer Humboldt and The Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, up here in Eureka, CA.
What about this organization caused you to want to be involved in founding an Order of SPI in Eureka?
Having been a theatrical costume designer, I thought I could help the new group with their habits. Once I went to one of the first meetings I was hooked and decided to put my money where my mouth is and step up and join! I have never looked back!
What do you think was the most challenging part of beginning the process of founding the Eureka Order?
Since we were a missionary house with our Mother, Sister Nova Nilla of the Russian River SPI 300 miles away, It was a bit challenging getting ourselves up and running, while still remaining within the SPI regulations. Nova Nilla was wonderful and always there on the phone if we needed her, but the distance did make a difference. We had a couple of stumbles, but we were really committed to establishing an order here in California’s rural north. They don’t call It Behind the Redwood Curtain for nothing!
Did the initial group of the Mission House encounter growing pains? And what was learned from those pains?
We had some early members leave when they realized what a commitment was needed, but we were very grateful that they could be honest with us before they got in too deep and ended up disappointing us or themselves. We really tried to play to peoples different strengths before we asked them to push their boundaries. For such an isolated and rural environment we do have a CSU, Humboldt State and more artists per capita than any other American city our size, so we have had none of the backlash one might associate with the hinterlands! One woman whispered in my ear when we were out in Face promoting an event,”You’re going to hell!”, to which I replied, “Great! I guess I’ll see you there”. But that’s all…
Being a founding member of your house, did you go through the process of first being a postulant or novice, or were you just considered a founding member and basically have the same rights as a fully professed sister?
We started as White Veil Novices and worked for about 6 or 7 months before we were elevated to FPM by the RRSPI. We did have to modify our protocol just a tad to be able to make decisions without any Black veils close by, but everything went through our Mother Nova Nilla.
How did the community react to the Sisters on the first manifestation in Eureka.
With surprise and curiosity. There are quite a few transplants here from San Francisco who knew who the Sisters were and they went absolutely crazy! They really did make us more comfortable and helped promote our early events. To be absolutely honest, the first time I was scared shitless, for no reason it turned out!
Did you find any challenges when dealing with the community for the first time? If so, what were the challenges?
From the very beginning we made sure that we were building bridges between the different members of the community. We have no gay bars, and we had to reach out through our fundraisers that included everything from the new Senior Center, Montessori School and the Domestic Abuse Services, along with our LGBTIQ community. The area at large began to realize that we were here to help make this a better place to live for everyone. We are so isolated, if we had a large earthquake or tsunami, we will need to be able to depend on each other, not drive each other apart. I have never in my whole long life, and I have lived all over the world, met a community that is as generous and accepting as this one is. For this I say a great thank you and we are so lucky. I know that is not always the case believe me.
Now that your house has been established for quite some time, what is the biggest difference in your house now from when it was first founded (not speaking of the number of members, of course)?
The biggest change in our house has been the age demographic. When we started we were almost all over 40 and now our new members are at the opposite end of the age spectrum with our youngest at 18 and our oldest at almost 70, and no I will not reveal her name!!!
If you could go back to the days of the order’s initial founding, what changes would you make, if any?
I wouldn’t change a thing! It all, good and not so good, has been an incredible learning experience for me that I wouldn’t trade for anything except maybe a 60 carat flawless pure white crystal clear diamond.
What advice would you give to a newly formed Mission House or any group that is considering the possibility of starting a house?
Patience is your friend. Treat each other with the respect and the common decency you would expect to be treated with. Not everyone knows their strengths right away and need a little more nurturing than others. Have FUN!!! Without fun there can be no joy.
Do you have just as much excitement about being a Sister now, as you did when you were assisting with the founding of your Order?
The Promulgating of Joy and the Expiating of Stigmatic Guilt is just as thrilling as ever, I just move a little slower! To see the looks on our fans faces when we show up is truly rewarding.
In one word (and one word only) please describe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.