We have been supporters of the social service organization Outlet for several years. We have attended their annual gala and donated money but have never been to any of their support groups or workshops. The mission of Outlet is to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth (LGBTQQ) ages 13-20 living on the Peninsula and South Bay. Last night they had a meeting open to the community where they invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I have always been curious about the Sisters but I did not know any thing them or their work.
Five Sisters came down from San Francisco to meet with about 20 local youths at the community center. They had an entertaining, educational and engaging program. The teens were interested in their charity work and outreach. They asked questions about their history as community activists. How they became part of the Order. They also wanted to hear the Sister’s makeup secrets for applying glitter. The teens quizzed them what the best stores to shop (cRoss Dress for Less).
I learned that the Sisters began in San Francisco on Easter weekend 1979. They are a non-profit organization that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. In addition to fundraising, the work of a Sister also includes ministry, education and entertainment. They have organized, planned and staged many events. The Sisters regularly visit local hospices. Theirs is a "ministry of presence". The Sisters frequently act as educators, lecturing to classrooms of students or informing the cute boy at the bar about the risks of unsafe sex. Being a Sister requires a lot of different skills and an investment in time, energy and money.
Some interesting facts:
In 1982 the Sisters put out the first safer sex pamphlet to use plain sex-positive language, practical advice, and humor.
It takes at least a year to become a full Sister. There is an extensive support and training program.
It is open to all people…gay, straight, male, female and every other variation.
Some of the angriest criticism they receive is from others in the GLBT community. That is too bad because I think the work they do is fabulous!
On their web site they state that the Sisters consider it their mission to “ruin” all detrimental conditions including complacency, guilt and the inability to laugh at one’s self.