By now most of you have read the letters of support or opposition that have been published in The State Journal over the last couple of weeks. By now almost all of you have formed a stance, opinion or thoughts in regards to these topics.
For those of you who have expressed concerns and a genuine curiosity, I would like to unveil the truth as it pertains to me about the Kentucky Fried Sisters (KFS), Capital Pride Kentucky and the queer community as a whole.
The Kentucky Fried Sisters, as you may know, is a limb of a much older and larger organization called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The most important details to glean from our “Sistory” are as follows.
* 1979: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) started in San Francisco.
* 1979: The first habits sisters wore were given to the Sisters by Catholic nuns.
* 1980: The Sisters first-ever fundraiser was a bingo at the Metropolitan Community Church that raised $1,500 to aid Cuban refugees.
* 1981: The Sisters produced the world’s first fundraiser benefit for an AIDS organization.
* 1982: Two registered nurses who were Sisters joined with a team of other Sisters and medical professionals to create Play Fair! It was the first safer-sex pamphlet anywhere in the world to use plain sex-positive language, practical advice and humor. It was so well received that it went through a second printing within just a few months.
* 1982: Pushing the political envelope, Sister Boom Boom ran under the "Nun of the Above" ticket in the race for supervisor of San Francisco and got 23,000 votes.
* 1983: CBS national TV came to town to do its hourlong special "GayPower-Gay Politics" featuring Sister Boom Boom.
* 1990: The Sisters brought safety and focus to the spontaneous party that happened in the tiny neighborhood. They singlehandedly produced a show that allowed them to raise thousands of dollars each year to give out as community grants the following spring.
The Sisters have grown throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and South America and are currently organized as an international network of Orders, which are mostly nonprofit charity organizations that raise money for AIDS relief, LGBT-related causes and mainstream community service.
Between 1979 and 2007 the Sisters are credited with raising over $1 million for various causes, or almost $40,000 on average per year for community benefit.
The KFS started in December 2016 as a product of the civil unrest and fear that evolved after the November election. Several brave individuals came forward from multiple communities to unite and spread more laughter, joy, and love in a time of guilt and rage. So far, we have been able to establish a monthly Blessed Bingo where we have been able to regularly help local nonprofits financially. We accept and welcome any individual of any race, gender or orientation who shares our philosophy of bettering the world around us.
What is a nun?
Many foaming and rabid religious nuts often argue our legitimacy by spitting and spewing the Webster’s dictionary definition of the modern-day term: “Nun -noun 1. A women member of a religious order, especially one bound by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. 2. Any of various birds, especially a domestic variety of pigeon.”
However most literate beings understand that most words have changed and evolved much like we have and the roots of these labels commonly aren’t what they mean today. The word “nun” has many meanings depending upon language and culture.
The term “nun” as we know it rises from around 450 A.D. from the Latin-rooted “nonna,” meaning sage or tutor, and then eventually the Old English word “nunne,” which is defined as a priestess. This is a concept or role that, of course, predates modern Christianity or even organized religion as a whole. Interesting to note that queer individuals have also held divine roles for as long as these roles have been established. Sumerian and Akkadian texts have been found that document transgendered priests, priestesses and sex workers existing up to 4,500 years ago.
Another example of this is in Native American culture; many of these indigenous tribes had what was known as a two-spirit individual. In the Lakota this person was referred to as a “winkte,” and the Navajo and Zuni recognized four distinct genders, two of which were called “nádleeh” in the Navajo and Ihamana in the Zuni, which today we would recognize as transgender men and women. It’s more commonly believed today from text and depictions that there has existed a third gender role since prehistoric times. These individuals were most commonly the spiritualists, shamans, priests/priestesses or medicine men.
Our roots in spirituality have always been that of a fruit tree, it seems. The Catholic labeled nun does not seem to exist until somewhere between the 13th and 14th centuries. I’m not saying professed women did not exist until then because there is plenty of evidence supporting this as early as the 4th century. However, they chose the title or name “Spouses of Christ” or “Brides of Christ.” This is probably due to the fact that most of these early devotees were either virgins or widowed women.
The reason I bring these things up is because we, as human beings, most commonly exist in an egocentric universe. Unfortunately, the ability to be multifaceted in our perceptions, beliefs and even our morals are extremely rare. This does not have to be the way we develop, building barriers instead of better understanding our feelings and creating original and authentic thoughts of our own.
We take ownership of the word “nun” just as Catholics have. We take ownership as spiritualists of the queer community just as all other spiritual groups have. We do not mock those who have spirituality and we do not mock nuns. We are nuns. We are the modern-day metaphorical shaman to the LGBTQ.
So, what are the real concerns?
The religious aspect has already been addressed but will quickly be recapped. We do not mock nuns because we are nuns. Your religion is not devalued because our differing beliefs exist. We aren’t specifically attacking your belief; rather we challenge preconceived ideals forced upon us by religion, government and society as a whole.
We do this through fundraising for other nonprofits that need financial help to maintain operations. We do this by creating events offering sanctuary for individuals to be themselves without fear or stigmatic guilt. We do this by standing up to oppressive forces of ignorance and bigotry.
We are the voice for those who cannot speak up and the ones marching for those who cannot stand up for themselves. But our nonprofit doesn’t work within the confines of just the “gay groups”; rather we try to lead by example using fundraising, activism and education to effect positive change for women, children and minorities as a whole. We tirelessly work to teach ways in which one can use a fiery passion to empower love instead of lashing out in hate.
Many of our beliefs mirror those that most religions indoctrinate their followers with — if you have the ability to help another, do it. If you have the platform to create beneficial change, share it. Be better than those that wish to destroy you.
I would like to invite each of you to any of our upcoming events. Every month we hold our monthly board meetings in Lexington. The third Sunday of every month is our Blessed Bingo with the Sisters. We will also be holding a candlelight vigil in observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.
Jared Hubbard, also known as Ken Tagious, is founding abbess of the Kentucky Fried Sisters. He can be emailed at email@example.com.