San Francisco, CA, January 30, 2019 --(PR.com
)-- Three years ago, Heather Jacks and Benjamin Benoit set out to produce a unique selection of essays, interviews, and stunning photographs documenting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their personal stories. Featuring original interviews with San Francisco Sisters - including remaining founding members of the group - this book gives them a voice to tell their stories. Benoit's eye-popping photography captures the vibrancy and joy of each one.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence make up an unlikely order of nuns. Self-described as "twenty-first century queer nuns," the Sisters began in 1979 when three bored gay men donned retired nuns' habits and went for a stroll through San Francisco's gay Castro district. The stunned and delighted responses they received prompted these already-seasoned activists to consider whether the habits might have some use in social justice work, and within a year they had constituted the new order. Today, with more than 83 houses on four different continents, the Sisters offer health outreach, support, and, at times, protest on behalf of queer communities.
Sister Stories...in their own words... is a compelling look at a cultural movement, an important piece of queer history, and gorgeous piece of art. Heather Jacks offers engaging insights into the role the Sisters play across queer culture and the religious landscape. Sister Stories is much more than just a book; it is a social movement, an opportunity to build bridges of communication and learn about a culture and history that many may not know exists.
Jacks had a lot to learn about the sisters. As a self-identifying straight, heterosexual girl, one of Jacks' goals from the onset was to not just make her book an educational resource for individuals like herself, but to make her project relevant to young LGBTQ+ people. "One thing I discovered early on," said Jacks, "is that young queer people don't know their history. I was here in the '80s during the epidemic - it was traumatizing. I'm very happy that those things are somewhat removed from the current generation, but it's important to know at what cost. The people who were the pioneers and helped to herald in a change of times were the sisters."
Benoit, on the other hand, makes his money as a commercial photographer in Los Angeles, shooting for major brands and Fortune 500 companies. "Shooting the sisters has been different than what I usually shoot," said Benoit, "but it's still the same approach to the photography. I light the subject the same way as if I were shooting a high fashion model for Vogue even though I'm shooting a drag nun." The photographer has enjoyed getting to "hear the sisters' stories and to see the good things they do for the community." Benoit said that he hopes this project, and his photographs, help to bring attention to the sisters from outside of the community.
The coffee table book is available for pre-order on Indiegogo.com:
http://igg.me/at/SisterStories. You can also grab a ticket to the exclusive "cover reveal party + art show," with food and drinks, a Q&A with the author, photographer and Sisters on hand to sign your book, answer questions and connect with the community.