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Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence patch things up with leather fair organizers

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the organizers of San Francisco’s famous (infamous?) leather fair have patched things up.

Folsom Street Events, the organizers of the Folsom Street Fair, and the Sisters hit a rough patch in their relationship this week, mere weeks before the leather fair is set to see 250,000 people tied up and lashed — or at least, enjoy watching others get tied and lashed — in a celebration of kink.

The Sisters have worked the entrances to the leather fair annually for more than twenty years, drumming up donations from attendees. Those donations help both Folsom and the Sisters give tens of thousands of dollars to LGTBQ organizations serving vulnerable populations.

The rift between the Sisters and Folsom may have driven a wedge in the kink and queer communities, and stemmed from working conditions under their new contract.

SEE RELATED: Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence may pull out of Folsom Street Fair

The new contract called for longer shifts than previous years, a major consideration while wearing nun’s habits and drag in the September heat. The Sisters would also no longer be called on to collect donations; instead, they would merely greeting patrons, a move that some Sisters described as disrespectful.

“Despite a rocky week, I’m thrilled to announce that the Order has overwhelmingly approved a contract for participation in 2019,” Sister Selma Soul, Abbess, wrote in a statement Thursday.

“This would not have been possible without an enormous amount of spirit and generosity on behalf of (Folsom Street Events),” Selma Soul said. “The Sisters feel that [FSE] has heard our concerns about safety, inclusion, and giving back at Folsom Street Fair. Because of this, the Order will be present at Folsom Street Fair and continue our ministry at the gates and within the Fair. We can’t wait to see you there.”

Folsom Street Events confirmed the Sisters would once again collect donations at Folsom Street Fair’s gates.

“We are thrilled to have a new agreement in place with the Sisters,” Jennifer Schuster, president of Folsom Street Events wrote in a statement.

Schuster added, “We appreciate their volunteer service, high level of energy and humor, and the memorable atmosphere they create at our fair gates. I also want to acknowledge our Executive Director Patrick Finger, along with Sisters Rosie Palmer Partridge and Selma Soul, for their work in crafting this mutually beneficial agreement.”

This year’s fair will whip, slap and smack on Folsom Street on September 29, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The suggested donation is $10-15 at the fair’s entrances.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez covers transportation for the San Francisco Examiner. He also writes the weekly political On Guard column. Reach him at Follow him on Twitter: @FitzTheReporter.

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