Sisters of the Commonwealth by Meg Birnbaum

Issue 57

There are 3000+ Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence worldwide with eighteen Sisters, Novices, Postulates and Aspirants in the Boston area. For almost three years I have walked in Pride Parades with them, screamed encouragements alongside them at Boston’s annual AIDS Walk, accompanied them to fancy fundraising dinners at city hotels, brought friends to their monthly Drag Bingo charity events and sailed with them while they sold raffle tickets on Boston harbor cruises.

The Sisters immediately welcomed me and appointed me their “photo historian”. I watch as they artfully manifest into “avatars” of social activism with the seemingly simple goal of inspiring acceptance, compassion and the desire to shift intolerant perspectives while raising money - predominately for causes within the LGBT community. I watch the spectrum of reactions on the faces of strangers in the crowds as we pass. I witness the public’s ability and inability to question and to accept - and the sister's optimism makes me feel hopeful.

Photographs, and the human stories behind them can be tools for supporting social change. I hope that by sharing these photographs of the Sisters with the public, that I am contributing to and echoing their desire to build a better world.

Meg Birnbaum lives and works in Somerville, MA.
To view more of Meg's work, please visit her website.

 Travis

Travis

 Shawn

Shawn

 Michael

Michael

 John

John

  Sisters Eunice X and KrisTall Mighty 

Sisters Eunice X and KrisTall Mighty 

  Sister Frieda B Fabulous

Sister Frieda B Fabulous

 Words to live by

Words to live by

  KrisTall Mighty 

KrisTall Mighty 

  Sister Amanda Tyan-Whip 

Sister Amanda Tyan-Whip 

  Sandra Musique and Eunice X 

Sandra Musique and Eunice X 

  Sisters Bear Ly Covered and Dangling Thyngs 

Sisters Bear Ly Covered and Dangling Thyngs 

  Rosetta Stone, Pride Parade 2012 

Rosetta Stone, Pride Parade 2012 

  Ima Miracle, lighting memorial lantern 

Ima Miracle, lighting memorial lantern 

  Sandra Musique 

Sandra Musique 

  Public Access 

Public Access 

  Novice Tori D’Affair 

Novice Tori D’Affair 

  Pride Parade senior van 2012 

Pride Parade senior van 2012 

  Weekend Retreat 

Weekend Retreat 

  Michael W. and Finnegan 

Michael W. and Finnegan 

  Transforming again 

Transforming again