A self-described “order of queer nuns” in California marked the Easter holiday with the return of its “Hunky Jesus” and “Foxy Mary” costume contest in San Francisco following a two-year hiatus.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a San Francisco-based group comprised of men dressed in drag as nuns, kicked off its 43rd Easter Celebration at Mission Dolores Park with an egg hunt for children on Sunday, followed by a variety show featuring men in drag and performances from several local acts.
Video posted to social media showed families with small children were also at the event taking part in an egg hunt and posing for photos with the Easter bunny, who was seen escorted by two men in makeup and drag.
The event also featured live entertainment hosted by local gay icon “Peaches Christ” by acts such as “Nicki Jizz” and the cast of “Reparations: An All-Black Drag Show.”
But as in past years, it was the "Foxy Mary" and "Hunky Jesus" competitions that drew the most attention, with the winners announced as “Transgender Maria de Guadalupe” and “Black Woman is God!," respectively.
Another post showed what appeared to be an inflatable adult toy as one of the contestants in the “Hunky Jesus” event.
Locally, the competition had gained a reputation for what SFGate once described as featuring “a series of blasphemous performances” along with free dental screenings and a traditional Easter bonnet contest.
John Grabowski, professor of moral theology and ethics at the Catholic University of America, told The Christian Post the event is clearly "aimed at being deliberately offensive to Christians who see Easter as a time to celebrate Christ's passion, death, and resurrection."
"While there are certainly people who identify as LGBTQ+ who have no desire to offend others and simply want to live their lives in peace, participants in this event seem to want to go out of their way to mock Christian beliefs and practices," Grabowski said. "It is striking that, in the U.S. context, it is usually Christianity that is singled out for this kind of ridicule as opposed to other world religions such as Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism."
"This seems to undercut the group's purported stance to promote tolerance and inclusion," he added.
Much like gatherings across the rest of the world, the event was canceled in March 2020 following the coronavirus outbreak. Before its hiatus, the event was known to draw hundreds of locals to Dolores Park.
This year’s theme, “Back to Our Old Habits,” marked a return to gathering in-person following the pandemic that forced the celebration to go virtual.
Democratic State Sen. Scott Weiner, who was among the hundreds at the event, said on Twitter the sisters “do so much for our community & help remind us what the spirit of San Francisco is about - celebrating this beautiful tapestry of a city.”
According to the group’s website, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence made its first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday in 1979. Since then, they are focused on “promoting human rights, respect for diversity, and spiritual enlightenment.”
The group currently operates in cities such as Los Angeles and Boston and across 14 countries on four continents, according to SFGate.