This article was published on October 29th, 2016
“To promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”
These are the guiding words of the mission for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Sister Roma, one of the longest serving and most active members of the order of drag nuns, has taken this mission to heart for over three decades.
Born Michael Williams in a conservative part of Michigan, Sister Roma moved to San Francisco in 1987, when she came across the early stages of the Sisters of Perpetual indulgence.
“I met the sisters and learned about them,” said Sister Roma in an exclusive HomoCulture interview. “My mind exploded. I care about civil rights, my community, people who are sick and dying. It was overwhelming. I was so passionate about spreading the word of the order, promoting our work, and our community. I just never stopped.”
Never stopping doesn’t come close to adequately summarising Sister Roma’s work within the order, not only is she one of the most visible and longest serving members, she is also one of the most active.
“I’m one of the most active in the order’s history,” explained Sister Roma in a nonchalant, modest, and honest-to-goodness tone. “The minute I joined the order, I realized it was a powerful place to be and I wanted to make the most of it.”
And making the most of it is certainly something she has done and continues to do. From creating a campaign to end violence towards the LGBT community, moderating safer sex forums online, hosting a masturbate-a-thon and, most recently, fighting Facebook for the right to use non legal names as names on accounts, there is little Sister Roma hasn’t or won’t take on in the name of civil rights and the LGBT community.
Upon joining the order, Sister Roma had never done drag, but she felt a deep bond with the order.
“I believe that sisters are born, not made,” said Sister Roma. “It’s a calling. The minute I joined the order, I realized it was a powerful place to be and I wanted to make the most of it.”
Helping the order to fundraise millions of dollars in the 37 years since its inception, the Sisters have, and continue to, financially support countless organizations working to make the world a better place for the LGBT community.
Sister Roma is a rare, wonderful, honest, authentic, and simply put, an amazing person. She has dedicated her life to promoting LGBT rights and working within the community to make life better for those within it and continues to be an inspirational figure and a pillar of strength within the community.
“I want to make this world a better place,” said Sister Roma, explaining her motivation behind her role with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “Plus I’m the prettiest one. People like pretty things!”
Sister Roma has, is, and continues to be a source of great inspiration for so many people in the LGBT community. Her tireless efforts have given so much to so many, both financially and socially, and she is truly a force to be reckoned with.
“Hug your nuns! Talk to them. They’re great people. They give back. Support the charities they support. They play an incredibly important role in our community, past, current, and future.”