Humanity’s Tragedy Inspires Unity – The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
By Hollis Taylor
From the Darkest of places comes the brightest of light. I didn’t have much time to process or even fully comprehend the shooting in Orlando. As I was quickly putting on my make-up to carry my “medicine” to the stage as Izzy Ahee, A Unifying Drag King, a friend informed me of the shooting. My heart stopped, my stomach dropped out, and I could feel the anxiety. Years on stage as a Drag King and in the darkest corners of pride festivals is the fear that this might happen. I was on my way to Boston Pride. Its common knowledge that Drag Performers are often part of Pride performances or before a dance party at a gay club. The hate is so clear to us when you live as a gender bender. So many gender variant people are attacked and killed, often because of the their gender expression. It creates a level of fear in most of us. So when you see a drag performer get on a big Pride Stage or in front of a public crowd, know in your heart that they are following some sort of Divine calling. Although their language doesn’t always include those words you know it by listening to their hearts. Drag is in the soul and we all recognize it in each other. Many Drag performers have said things like “Yah I think about the danger of what I do but I gotta be myself.” or “This is my thing, I gotta do this, if nothing else I must perform drag.”
Knowing there were certainly drag performers at the Pulse on the night of that shooting pains me, deeply. The more I sat with it over the next nights the deeper it went. This was an attack on me and my LGBTQ family. This was an attack on humanity in many forms – GLBTQ & Latino community were certainly present. This was also an attack on every person that wants to go out dancing. Every person that loves a drag performer worries about their loved only on stage or leaving a club after a show. All people that have ever gone dancing at a gay club with the uplifting attitude of feeling free, expressive, and maybe questioning their own sexual orientation or gender expression. Gay clubs and Pride are SAFE SPACE for us. Its like having someone come into your church and create such a horrific tragedy. This is a direct violation of our rights to be human beings, alive, evolutionary, and authentic. Yes I am outraged. Yes I am angry. Yes I am sad. Still I feel the sadness and as I prepare to attend a special festival called, Unifier, I am assured this horrific tragedy will transform into something lighter and brighter.
Just after the tragedy I felt sad, lost, and scared. The following day I was invited, through Boston Pride, to attend the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Vigil at Trinity Church in Copley Square in Boston, MA. Its not far from the location of the Boston bombings in April of 2013. The Sisters explain during the vigil that they just assumed they could hold this vigil outside of this old church. After I heard the priest Trinity Church explain he was also gay and had danced at a club I understood the connections. He pointed out that many of us have danced in a club, but to this born and raised catholic (even in catholic school) it was weird to see a priest describe his attendance at a gay club. He also spoke of his partner. I was reassured during this vigil that we were raising the bar to love & unity. A queer muslim woman spoke how this behavior is of radical muslims, not of sane ones. Just like Christians we cannot assume they are all radical insane haters. Just certain groups. The Mayor even sent a liason to speak and invited us all to another vigil the following night. Of course the entire thing was hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and honestly I was there to hear what they had to say.
The sisters in San Francisco were my first introduction but this was the first time I got to see them live. I was honored. They held space. They created space. They made safe peaceful space that was queer as one could expect from essentially a gender bending “Nun”. These sisters have always inspired me with their messages on YouTube and now in person. Their presence, their songs, their love, their ability to unify. The moment when the world comes crashing in we reach for spirit, we reach for our spiritual growth, we need spiritual community. We need unity. The Sisters have stepped up into their Divine Calling and created spiritual uplifting inclusive space for all people. Well done Sisters. As a tear drips from my eyes for my GLBTQ community your presence and uplifting message transforms us all into a Unified world.
As I am preparing to attend a festival that is all about Unification I am excited about the possibility for transformation. Unify. Together we can overcome. Love will overcome. Step Up into your Divine Path, we need you now!