It’s Saint Carol now¦*

I have been honored by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the lovely order of drag nuns who make San Francisco (and everyplace in the world you find them) a more fabulous and communitarian place. This, per their website, is what the Sisters are all about:

“¦community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We [the Sisters] believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

CQ's Sainthood Certificate

And who doesn’t love that? Well, OK, I know some folks don’t, but hopefully one day they too will be converted.

So Robert and I went to Dolores Park on Easter Sunday, the Sisters’ really big shindig, and both of us were sainted: I am now Saint Carol, Queen of Orgasmic Pleasures (and Patron Saint of Positive Perversion), while Robert is Saint Checkmate (because sometimes the Queen takes the King from behind). (And if that seems like too much information or an unsaintly use of chess nomenclature, please recall that Robert and I are the king and queen of Bend Over Boyfriend, and apparently that movie has made the rounds not only of all the frathouses of America “oh, I can dream“ but also of the Sisters.)

It may be possible, even, that we are the first male-and-female couple ever sainted together; I’m not sure, but I haven’t heard of another. Sometimes our gay friends make the nomenclatural error of calling us a heterosexual couple, but that is not, strictly speaking, correct. Bisexual is more like it, although that does imply only two genders¦ and we are both quite certain there are way more genders than that, and are not averse to being attracted to all of them. Surprise us!

On stage at The Sisters' Dolores Park Easter

On stage at The Sisters’ Dolores Park Easter

Plus we’re honored together by inclusion on the Alternatives to Marriage website, along with other unmarried couples like Simone de Bouvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. August company (to add to my collection from Oxford)! And we are in grand company as Saints, too, because the Sisters have really good, eclectic taste in this department as in other things, like, say, drag. I defy you to find me a more amazing wearer of eye makeup than a really done-up-for-Easter Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.

Sister Sarra Femme (r) and friend
Sister Sarra Femme (r) and friend

And Dolores Park on Easter Sunday is a miracle on every side, especially an Easter Sunday that proves the Rev. Fred Phelps has no clue, none, whom God loves or hates (because if God hated fags, or drag nuns, or any of us San Franciscans, it’d rain on the park every year instead of giving us suntans “it was a freakin’ beautiful day“ and Pride Day would be nasty too and it usually is also beautiful, and the Folsom Street Fair is generally exquisite \’ and instead this year the rain was saved for the teabagging demonstrations on the East Coast).

Dolores Park on Easter features a zillion good-looking people, happy and gay, plus quite a few of their dogs, may of whom are also in drag (Easter bunny ears on greyhounds=TOO cute). Onstage you have many, many nuns, plus other famous people and performers and such (our sainthood ceremony was preceded by Kitten on the Keys, off to France now to be in a fabulous movie \’ and herself a Saint).

Sr. Sara Femme confers with Kitten on the Keys
Sr. Sara Femme confers with Kitten on the Keys

Plus the Easter Bonnet Contest! (My favorite was the guy whose hat held a full bar, complete with celery for the Bloody Marys \’ but he didn’t even place, that’s how many festive hats there were.) Plus the Hunky Jesus Contest! (This year’s winner: Brokeback Jesus, as in, “I cain’t quit you, Jesus. An eerie convergence with all the illos on all the blogs of the Brokeback Mountain cover in stories about the homophobia-or-whatever-it-was meltdown.)

Bonnets on Parade
Bonnets on Parade

All in all an exquisite day, a great honor, and \’ oh, I almost forgot! \’ the 30th anniversary of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their good works. Best wishes, dear Sisters, for many more \’ San Francisco and the world need you!

*Here’s what the sainthood certificate says \’ it’s powerful stuff:

“For upholding and promoting the ideals, beliefs, and convictions held sacred by the Order,

For creating positive changes in our world by by honoring The Mind, The Body, and The Spirit,

For perpetually dedicating untold hours of freely expended energy in service to The Order and The Community,

For promulgating Universal Joy! and expiating stigmatic guilt everywhere you go, Be it decreed from this day forward that

Your transgressions will be reduced to mere fluff in the eyes of the Goddess who knows all and forgives all,

Your good works shall be remembered in honor and in perpetuity,

You shall forever stand as a pillar of strength in The Community,

You are hereby perpetually allied with the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.

Therefore, Sainthood is forever Proclaimed on this Honorable Day, April 12, 2009¦

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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