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|Sister ROMA! There's No Place Like Rome|
|Delegate, United Nuns Privy Council|
|Roma, Roma Roma|
|Sister Lucious Lashes|
|Sister Luscious Lashes|
|Sister Zsa Zsa Glamour, Guard The Opressed|
A giant glitter-ball hit the planet and Sister Roma emerged from the crater in 1987. Okay, I'm not from outer space, I'm from Michigan (which is even scarier). I moved to San Francisco immediately after graduating from college in 1985. Two years later I was hanging out with friends during happy hour at the Midnight Sun in the Castro. We all had jobs downtown and were standing around in our power-ties, watching videos when this character entered the bar. She looked liked a clown/nun/showgirl and for the first time that evening everyone stopped looking up at the video screens and look at her. The reaction was mixed, to say the least, but she greeted everyone with charm, grace, and a huge smile. Suddenly the queen came up to me and knew me by name - I was stunned! It turned out to be a good friend of mine named Norman who (unbeknownst to me) was also known as Sister Luscious Lashes with the Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence. I had never heard of the Sisters until that very moment but I was intrigued. I befriended the group and discovered that they were social activists, fundraisers, trailblazers, shit-stirrers, and passionate, talented, amazing people. I started volunteering with them as a boy until one day Luscious suggested that I 'just try the makeup' and my life changed for ever. Sister Roma was born!
Spiritual. I definitely believe that there is more than this. Life is just too miraculous - and more amazing than we can understand while we're busy living it.
The Most Photographed Nun In The World™
Host, Tim & Roma LIVE
2012 SF Pride Grand Marshal
San Francisco's Most Notable Drag Queen, SF Nitey Awards
Best Personality, 2015 Cybersocket Awards
Creator: #MyNameIs Campaign / Facebook Nemsis
Stonewall 40 Trans Heroes Honoree
Tim & Roma
Sister Roma "The Whole Story"
Roma Wasn't Built In A Day
2015 marks Sister Roma’s 28th year as one of the most continuously active, outspoken and highly visible members of the SPI. She has dedicated more than half of her life to serving the San Francisco LGBTQI community as an activist, fundraiser, public speaker, hostess/Master of Ceremonies, columnist, talk show host, and an arguable gay icon.
Recognizing in herself a desire to create change and improve the quality of life for our community, Roma joined the Sisters in January of 1987. At the time, the San Francisco Order had dwindled to a mere six fully professed active members. Roma is credited with being a major force in the rejuvenation and future growth in the Order; which has grown to over 1,000 members strong in this worldwide non-profit organization.
Since taking her vows, Roma has been on the front lines in the war against HIV and AIDS. At a time when people were getting sick and dying alone, Roma reached out and showed compassion and support for those afflicted with a virus that was still unidentified. Roma embraced members of our community who others were afraid to touch due to the ignorance surrounding infection. It has always been one of Roma’s goals to educate people about HIV and safer sex practices. Roma has volunteered, hosted, and/or MC’d fundraisers for nearly every organization related to HIV education and practical care. All told, Sister Roma has directly or indirectly helped raise over $1 million for her community.
Responding to a rise in hate crimes in the spring of 1989 Sister Roma spearheaded the Stop The Violence (STV) Campaign. Designed to raise awareness to the unsafe conditions in and around San Francisco, STV included a citywide distribution of window placards, safety guidelines, and whistles. This program continued on to include college campuses and cities outside of San Francisco. Although eventually put to rest, Roma and the Sisters reactivated the STV campaign after a series of violent hate crimes hit the Castro and Mission districts in 2010. The program continues today and includes the original safety placards, safety packets, regular free self-defense training and cooperation from the SFPD, CUAV and Castro Community Patrol. As an outspoken advocate for civil rights, Sister Roma has been often called upon to speak at rallies, marches, and major demonstrations. She also speaks at colleges and universities on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS, homophobia, and drag. Roma has organized, hosted, and/or attended the peaceful demonstrations including the annual AIDS candle light vigil, Prop 8, DADT Repeal, Freedom of Choice, and Occupy SF. In June of 2014 Roma was honored to be invited to Shanghai Pride as an ambassador of good will to build bridges between the ever-growing East and established West LGBT communities.
One of San Francisco’s most colorful (and sometimes off-color) Master of Ceremonies, Roma has graced the main stages of SF Pride, Folsom Street Fair, Castro Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro and Easter in Dolores Park just to name a few. Her reputation for being a gracious, and at times, bodacious hostess has spread to include regular annual engagements in Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and even LifeBall in Vienna.
Roma’s quick wit has also earned her guest spots on radio, television and her own online talk show, the Tim & Roma show, the Internet’s #1 gay-themed live format talk show. Although she claims to be “off-the-rack” Roma has somehow become a fixture hosting adult industry red carpets annually at the GAYVN, Grabby and the Cybersocket Awards. As well as appearing as a regular commentator on local radio including KMEL, Energy 92.7, and 99.7 and even branching out to appear in MTV music videos, independent films, on stage in Ronnie Larsen’s Sleeping With Straight Men, and even spotted on Kathy Griffin’s My Life On The D List.
Roma uses her public platform to address issues ranging from local events and fundraisers to reality TV to her own personal experiences with substance abuse. In November this year Roma called upon her social network of more than 100,000 followers to raise awareness to Facebook's "real name policy." As the creator of the #MyNameIs campaign, Roma and her fellow activists gained international attention to the unfair and discriminatory policy. Her vocal, eloquent and passionate pleas resulted in an apology from the social media giant as well as an ongoing discussion on how to best modify Facebook's current policies and procedures regarding authentic identities.
Below is a very partial list of the events, fundraisers and organizations Roma has supported over the last 25 years:
Project Nunway - MC/Judge
Shanghai Pride - Host/Ambassador
Folsom Street Fair - Master of Ceremonies (15 years)
AEF Christmas Eve Dinner - Master of Ceremonies (15 years)
Easter in Dolores Park– Master of Ceremonies (15 years)
SF Drag King Contest – Master of Ceremonies (10 years)
Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners – Greeter/Server (7 years)
Imperial Court Investiture – Master of Ceremonies (7 years)
Mr. & Miss Gay SF Contest – MC/Judge (7 years)
San Francisco Pride - Master of Ceremonies (5 years)
Halloween In The Castro - Master of Ceremonies (5 years)
Castro Street Fair – Master of Ceremonies (5 years)
AIDS Emergency Fund County Fair – Master of Ceremonies
Black Coalition on AIDS Anniversary – Master of Ceremonies
Gay Day at Great America - Master of Ceremonies
SF Fetish Ball – Master of Ceremonies
Miss Gay California – Master of Ceremonies/Judge
PARTIAL LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS ROMA HAS VOLUNTEERED FOR:
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
GAYS 4 GOOD
Stop AIDS Project
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
AIDS Emergency Fund
Project Open Hand
Positive Resource Center (PRC)
Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation
Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (API)
AIDS Health Project (UCSF)
Black Coalition on AIDS
Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)
Center For Sex & Culture
Basically, it’s safe to say that every time anyone approaches Sister Roma about her support, involvement, or assistance for a good cause … Roma ALWAYS says yes.
We would like to thank the generosity of San Franciscans who contributed to this memorial. We are truly humbled.
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The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation (federal tax ID number: 94-3032120) | "Go forth and sin some more!”