The Los Angeles Dodgers plan to recognize the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of transvestites known for satirizing Catholic rites and ceremonies. The group originated in Iowa City in 1979, then relocated to San Francisco in 1980. They rose to prominence when three members dressed in traditional Catholic nuns’ attire and roamed the city. Their activities are described by author Melissa Wilcox in the book “Queer Nuns” as being symbolically blessed through unconventional and provocative rituals.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence garnered media attention in June 1980 when they marched in San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. The San Francisco Examiner characterized them as “men, some bearded, dressed as nuns.” The group’s goal is stated as promoting universal joy and the absolution of stigmatic guilt. They host an annual San Francisco “Hunky Jesus” contest, where gay men garbed as Jesus engage in a beauty competition.
In 1995, the group staged a parody of the Stations of the Cross at 13 gay bars, with members costumed as biblical figures. Additionally, in 2007, two members received Holy Communion from Archbishop George H. Niederauer during a Catholic mass, a gesture viewed by some as a prank.
The group maintains an annual tradition of satirizing Easter Sunday in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. The most recent event was dubbed more risqué than before by “Sister Tilda,” one of the group’s members. The theme was inspired by musical theater, burlesque, peep shows, vaudeville, and the vibrant drag scene of San Francisco.