Besties Community: The Sisters are the faces of SF's LGBTQ community

  • by Eric Burkett, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday September 28, 2022
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The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Easter celebration in Mission Dolores Park is a readers' favorite. Photo: Steven Underhill
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Easter celebration in Mission Dolores Park is a readers' favorite. Photo: Steven Underhill

Now that COVID is kind of not the big deal it was back in 2020, the Bay Area's LGBTQ nonprofits and other community organizations are feeling free to do the things the community loves best — serving the public, going to games, throwing big parties, celebrations, and fundraisers, and providing opportunities to share time together. Here are a few of our readers' favorites.

Best LGBTQ Event

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter Celebration

Some cities have sunrise services at Easter, San Francisco has the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's annual celebration in Mission Dolores Park, now in its 43rd year. Regularly drawing thousands of spectators — LGBTQ or straight — the daylong event features everything from innocent kids' activities to the racy Hunky Jesus and Foxy Mary contests. Unsurprisingly, the event once drew a great deal of condemnation from local Catholic authorities but even they have succumbed — a little bit — to the magic of the Sisters. In 2019, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of San Francisco told the Bay Area Reporter "nobody is actively contentious or opinionated about the Sisters at this end." For more information, visit the website.


San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration

AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised millions of dollars over the years. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Best LGBTQ Fundraiser
AIDS Walk San Francisco

Following a 6.25-mile-long trail through Golden Gate Park, AIDS Walk San Francisco raises funds for a wide range of nonprofit organizations all over the Bay Area. This year, after two years of virtual events, the walk was back in person. The top individual participant raised $51,420 while the top team managed to bring in $117,647. Since its founding in 1987, AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised more than $90 million, according to its website.

Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet's Pride Brunch

Best Health-Related Nonprofit
Out of the Closet

In a pricey town like San Francisco, thrifting is a great, ecologically sound way to get more stuff, and one place to do that is at Out of the Closet. The thrift store raises funds to support Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation's HIV prevention and treatment services. The organization claims that 96 cents of every dollar raised goes toward its services.

Out of the Closet, 1295 Folsom Street, San Francisco. (415) 588-7176.

San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team

San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Tyler TerMeer, Ph.D., speaks during a Board of Supervisors hearing on the MPX outbreak. Photo: Screenshot  

Best AIDS Nonprofit
San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Founded in the depths of the AIDS crisis in 1982, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has become a fixture of LGBTQ city life. The organization "promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships," according to its website. Thanks in part to its ongoing work, the city has seen an overall decline in HIV transmission numbers over the past 10 years. The foundation's Strut clinic in the Castro offers sexual health services. When the MPX outbreak occurred here in the spring, the foundation quickly stepped up with town hall meetings, and CEO Tyler TerMeer, Ph.D., was outspoken in pushing for more vaccines as well as working with local and state officials. For more information, visit its website.


Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in pink dress, toured the GLBT Historical Society Museum during her September 6 visit to San Francisco. Photo: Matthew S. Bajko  

Best LGBTQ Nonprofit
GLBT Historical Society

From fun displays of beefcake bar posters from the 1970s to the powerful exhibit of the suit gay San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk was wearing when he was assassinated in 1978, replete with the bullet hole that took his life, the GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro provides a powerful glimpse into the history of San Francisco's LGBTQ history. But the society is more than a museum, as it is also home to the Dr. John P. De Cecco Archives and Special Collections, housing one of the world's largest collections of materials pertaining to LGBTQ people, in over 1,000 collections of personal papers, organizational records, periodicals, oral histories, photographs, audiovisual recordings, ephemera, artifacts and works of art. City and state officials have secured a total of $17 million to help find a permanent LGBTQ museum for the society, ideally in the Castro. The society's Reunion gala is coming up October 19.

GLBT Historical Society Museum, 4127 18th Street, San Francisco. (415) 777-5455. (Open Wednesday-Sunday.) GLBT Historical Society Archives, 989 Market Street, lower level, San Francisco. (By appointment only.)

LYRIC Center for LGBTQ Youth

Best LGBTQ Sports League
SF Gay Softball League

The San Francisco Gay Softball League is a recreational league committed to providing an organization for LGBTQ participants to compete in an environment conducive to the community, according to its website. And enough people love it that it's taken the top spot in the Besties again, after winning in 2020 and in prior years. The fall softball season is wrapping up, so if you're interested, check out the league for next spring. For more information, visit its website.

SF Fog Rugby Club

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry holds a bottle of bubbly as he greets fans during the team's championship parade June 20. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

Best Bay Area Sports Team
Golden State Warriors

Basketball at Chase Center is the place to be, and the Golden State Warriors have certainly emerged as among the hottest of teams in the NBA. Following their relocation to San Francisco in 2019, the team found a new fanbase in the city but broke the hearts of thousands of Oaklanders. Nonetheless, they've come out as the readers' favorite among the Bay's professional sports teams. Of course, winning their seventh NBA title in June probably doesn't hurt, and the city threw a great parade for the champions. For more information, visit its website.

San Francisco Giants

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