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Kind Badass of the Week: Sister Roma

Each week KindaKind will feature a badass who is putting their passion to a purpose and doing something great for the world.

The first Kind Badass of the Week is Sister Roma, The Most Photographed Nun In The World™

For 29 years, Sister Roma has been one of the most continuously active, outspoken and highly visible members of the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. 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.

What is your passion?

I want the world to be a better place because I was here.

How are you putting your passion to a purpose?

I raise awareness to injustices and social issues. I fight for what I believe in. I vote. I organize demonstrations. I participate in protests. I speak at rallies. I carry picket signs. I appear on television and radio. I promote education. I speak at colleges and universities. I break down barriers of race, sexuality, gender, and build bridges of understanding and acceptance. I raise a lot of money for charitable organizations. I feed the hungry. I nurture and care for the young and old alike. I engage with people. I listen. I care. I love.

How did you get started?

It all began 29 years ago when I joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco and Sister Roma was born.

Why do you do it?

Anyone who has ever volunteered, fought for change, stood up for what they believe in, donated clothing or food or shown a stranger kindness already knows the answer. There is no better feeling in the world than helping others. Every tiny bit you put out comes back tenfold.

Favorite thing about what you do?

Tears of joy.

How can others help?

When you open your eyes don't just look. Open your heart and see. See that there are people in pain. See that there are people struggling. See that they are the same as you - no better, no worse - the same. See that you can make a difference.

Practical answer: Go online and google "Volunteer" and you'll be overwhelmed with opportunities. Pick one or two, get off your ass and get busy! The world needs you!

Who are your heroes?

Barack Obama, Miss Major, Cleve Jones, Tom Ammiano, David Campos, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, parents who walk their kids to school through the Tenderloin, parents who accept their kids regardless of their sexuality or gender, kids who defend other kids who are being bullied, my fellow Sisters, school teachers, nurses, how much time do you have... there are so many...

If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?

I'd like to be able to bestow the gift of self-love. So many people struggle to accept and love themselves for who they are... it's the root of so many of today's problems. It's like, "relax. You're okay. The way you feel is okay. Stop trying to fit in - be you. You're fucking amazing." Then, once you're free to love yourself you can love others. Learning to love yourself is the greatest gift of all. (Yes, I did that. I just quoted a Whitney song.)

What is your favorite non-profit organization or cause?

Again... so many. One of my all-time favorites is Tenderloin Tessies Holiday Dinners. It's a grass-roots organization started by a drag queen named Tessie. Every year we feed about 1,000 hungry and homeless people right off the street at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's magic.

Who else should be a Kind Badass of the Week?

BeBe Sweetbriar. She's one of my best friends and has worked tirelessly for the community for decades.


Keep up with Sister Roma on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at the website for The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.


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