Thursday, January 20th, 2022

When The London Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence canonized Derek Jarman


The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are the legendary queer charity, protest and street performance organization that uses drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance and satirizes issues of gender and morality.  It all started in 1976, when a convent of Roman Catholic nuns lent some retired habits to The Sugar Plum Fairies performing their version of The Sound of Music. One year later, one of our Founders Sister Vicious Power Hungry Bitch (Ken Bunch) moved to San Francisco (1977) and brought those habits to draw attention to social conflicts and problems in the Castro District

The Sisters really came into their own in the AIDS pandemic as an agitating political force and also providing  major support service and fundraising operation for the LGBTQ community that was being shunned by society and authorities alike as people died in their thousands.

The  San Francisco Mother House inspired other chapters to open throughout the US and the World, and although they may not have attracted the same celebrity, they were extremely effective in their own communities.

One such was the London House that started in 1990 with a handful of Sisters: Mother Mandragora Salacious in Purple, Sister Frigidity of the Nocturnal Emission, Sister Immaculata, Sister Gloria Sick Mundis, and Sister Jack-off all Trade and one or two others, then later on Sister Dominatrix des Hommes and Sister Moses of the Parting Cheeks joined.  Having an outrageous name and habit was compulsory. Their first activity was a march with Outrage to protest arrests of gay men at the Coleherne Pub on the 3rd December 1990.

One of their many activities was to acknowledge the contribution that a person had made to our community by making them a Saint.  In the year after the homophobic reactionary Thatcher Government in the midst of getting anything/everything gay banned in schools, went ahead and awarded Ian McKellan a Knighthood, the Sisters decide to respond by canonizing queer filmmaker Derek Jarman.

Last year filmmaker Marco Alessi made this short documentary Saintmaking for The Guardian which both covered the canonization but also sets the scene of how the London Chapter of the Sisters went about becoming an essential and integral part of a queer community reeling under the devastation of the AIDS pandemic.

It’s a must-see piece of queer history that deserves to be seen by us all.


Posted by queerguru  at  11:22


Genres:  documentary

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