Hie Thee to the Drag Clown Nunnery

A true confession and a shameless plug.

My name is David Estlund.

I am the AggreGAYtor. I am also known as Sissy Lumberjack and Novice Sister Jackie OnoSheDidn't.

And I have a confession to make.

Hello Austin,

Despite what the rumors say, I am not just another highly paid, well-connected journalist. I am much more, and much less. I am also, among other things, the abbess of the Weird City Sisters, our local mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a global network of queer nuns dedicated to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt.

Key facts: the Sisters were founded in 1979 by a gaggle of San Francisco queens wearing leftover Sound of Music costumes and shooting water guns at "Castro queers," and those same queens produced the world's first AIDS fundraiser when the crisis hit, a dog show judged by disco goddess Sylvester. That’s really all that’s needed for background, except that we also got Debbie Reynolds as hostess.

Fast-forward to the present, and here we are, the Weird City Sisters. We run around town, dressed like mad genderf*ck clowns caught in a mash-up with the Virgen de Guadalupe and Byzantine icons (the halos are gold records; live music capital and all that), handing out condoms and counseling the community, doing what we see as the work of nuns as nuns are forbidden to do it. We're on the Papal List of Heretics, and will probably be there for a while.

The Austin Sisters started roughly a year ago, and in that time we have helped raise thousands of dollars for local AIDS charities, started thousands of conversations, and handed out thousands of condom packets (with a peppermint, because a toothbrushing right before oral sex can leave one more vulnerable to STIs). We’ve hosted a number of parties, fundraisers, and film screenings–as a matter of fact, we’re having one Friday.

The concept of a "Red Dress Party" is that everyone wears a red dress and gets together to raise a little money and awareness for AIDS-related causes while, of course, having a splendid evening. A number of cities host annual Red Dress Parties, many of them hosted by their own houses of the Sisters, and we’ve decided to flex our Austin flair and add a new layer of excitement. Cirque du So Gay, a fundraiser for the Care Communities and the AIDS Walk, will be a feast for the senses: a full-on circus experience bringing together Austin’s thriving drag, burlesque, aerialist, performance art, and Bourbon-Street-meets-Budapest marching brass band scenes. There are three contests: Best Red Dress, Least Red Dressed, and Best Sideshow Costume. Which will you enter?

For more information, check us out on Facebook. Our event page is there, too.

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Activism, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Weird City Sisters, Cirque du So Gay, queer, Elysium, Care Communities, ASA, AIDS Walk

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