Parade Grand Marshal Empress Donna Sachet requested the presence of her loyal subjects, fans of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc., well wishers for the Honorable Mabel Teng and for business leader Bill Del Monicoâall to attend a festive fundraiser for the LGBT Community Center at the Center on June 18. The event was entitled âSachet with the Sisters Into Pride.â Accordingly the walls of the Centerâs Ceremonial Room were covered with blown-up news clippings and photos from the 26-year archives about The Sisters dating back to their very beginnings in 1979 and covering some of their major accomplishments along the wayâprotesting with ACT UP and Queer Nation against AIDS profiteers; holding the very first fundraiser for what would later be known as AIDS; leading actions against nuclear proliferation; conducting exorcisms of Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan, and the Pope; waging war against the Vatican; distributing condoms and authoring the very first safer sex pamphlet; organizing penny drives for AIDS Emergency Fund; running the safety whistle and safe house campaign; and hosting tons and tons of fundraisers. Donna Sachet sang some of her standards plus her original loving lyrics of âSachet with the Sisters Again.â
Three awards were handed out: one to an individual, another to a corporate partner, and a third to a group. All three received commendations from Assemblyman Mark Leno, Senator Carole Migden, and Betty Yee of the Board of Equalization. Executive Director Thom Lynch gave the first Charles M. Holmes Award to SFâs Assessor-Recorder and the first Chinese American elected to the Board of Supervisors, Mabel Teng. âMabel was instrumental in our Winter of Love in San Francisco,â said Lynch. Speaking to Teng, he said, âLast February your life turned upside down. I remember the first time I met you, I had been invited to Del Martin and Phyllis Lyonâs wedding in your office, surrounded by about 15,000 reporters.â
Martin, 83 at the time, and Phyllis Lyon, 80, tied the knot after being together for 50 years. The assessor-recorderâs office recorded 3,998 same-sex marriage licenses in San Francisco before the California Supreme Court ordered a halt to the marriages on March 11, 2004. Lynch added, âWe are going to miss you in the Assessorâs office, but we know you will still be around with your leadership qualities being a light in the world.â By the way, it should be mentioned that The Sisters recently sainted Teng with the official title of St. Marrying Mabel. âI literally just got off the airplane a few hours ago, but I did not want to miss this event,â said Teng. âYou have given me the ultimate satisfaction,â she said, and the crowd began hooting. âNow donât think dirty,â she joked, âI meant in marrying all of you.â She said it has been more than 15 years since she ran and won her first campaign. She served on the Board of Supervisors for six years.
Mayor Gavin Newsom recently expressed his sadness upon learning of Tengâs decision to retire from public service. In a written statement, he commended Teng for serving the people of San Francisco with conviction and passion. âAs a tireless champion of civil rights, Mabel was a leader in our effort to secure equality for all Americans,â said Newsom. Teng addressed those who found fault with her edgy, radical approach to marrying queers, saying, âIf you are not on the edge, you are taking up too much room. We are here to change the world for the better and provide equality and fairness for everyone.â
Board Co-chair Doug Pinter presented the Charles M. Holmes Community Award to The Sisters. âEver since Easter of 1979, The Sisters have been accused of âruining it for everyone,â and thank God they do,â said Pinter. âFor over twenty-five years The Sisters have served the community in outstanding fundraising to meet community needs, while dispensing exuberant acceptance and pride in the LGBT community.â Sister Saki Tumi read an inspirational poem by e.e. cummings and then Sister Dana brought it all down to his usual gutter level in a speech written on a cocktail napkin with Sister Hellen Wheels just moments before. Sister Dana spoke how years ago, when the Center was but a hole in the ground, The Sisters blessed and made it holy ground, which had sprung from the seed (!) of a former jack-off club. Then way before the Center had completed construction, The Sisters blessed the exposed girders and hanging wires in a special ceremony. Just before the grand opening, The Sisters led the gathered faithful (staff, donors, friends) on an epic blessing on all four floors, spreading holy glitter and blowing fire off the balcony (courtesy of Sister Kitty Catalyst) as the US Olympic torch was passing by below for the upcoming Olympics.
Of course we were not about to surpass THAT in a blessing for this Sachet night, but our words were no less sincere: âWe now âbeati-queerifiseâ this Holy Center of Queer Culture; may it always represent the diverse and perverse that IS San Francisco!â And all who were assembled followed our liturgy and called out: âIn the name of the Father: Daddy! And of the Son: Daddyâs Boy! and of the Holy Spirit of Harvey Milk: Ah-men, ah-women, and ah-the rest.â
Presented by the Honorable Jose Cisneros, Treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco, the AT&T Corporate Partner Award was given to Bill Del Monico, outstanding entrepreneur and generous friend of the LGBT community. Del Monico managed to grow Integrated Mortgage in four years from zero to $20 million monthly in commercial and residential loans. âBill has been an important friend of the Center and of the LGBT community,â said Cisneros. Donna made her final comments, reminding everyone everywhere of the importance of becoming a supporting member of the Center for as little as $35 a year. Lynch closed saying, âLooking around this room, I will tell you that in George Bushâs America, Iâd rather be on the side with The Sisters than sitting in Washington with George!â