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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Dodging the Sisters: Why Queer Nuns Keep Going Viral

Thursday, January 18 | 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Knight Hall, Emerson Auditorium
Knight Hall and Bauer Hall, John M. Olin School of Business

Join us for the first of four events in our lecture series “Reverent Irreverence:  Parody, Religion, and Contemporary Politics.”

In June 2023, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence went viral in conservative media for the umpteenth time. This time around, it was because the Los Angeles Dodgers had announced plans to honor the Los Angeles House of the order at the team’s annual Pride Night. A month before that all-California game against the San Francisco Giants, Florida Senator Marco Rubio had instigated the protest with a letter to baseball commissioner Robert Manfred claiming the group was offensive to Catholics. A short time into the swelling protest movement the Dodgers disinvited the Sisters, then re-invited them rather quickly following overwhelming backlash; in the end, the nuns’ presence at the game drew masses of protestors and supporters, and required a heavy security presence. Reporting on the scuffle focused on it largely as a story about sports, politics, and culture wars, not about religion, and it largely misrepresented or even overlooked the international order of queer and trans nuns at the heart of the story. So who are these nuns, and why do they keep winding up the right and delighting the left while most people on both sides miss the point that queer nuns, too, are real nuns? Come join us and find out.

This event is free and open to all, no tickets required. General admission seating—first come, first served. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m. We hope you will also join us for a reception immediately following the conversation.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Society



John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
Event Contact

Hannah Pierce | rap@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Melissa M. Wilcox (any pronouns) is Professor and Holstein Family and Community Chair of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where Dr. Wilcox organizes the annual UCR Conference on Queer and Trans Studies in Religion and the Holstein Dissertation Fellowship. A specialist in the study of gender, sexuality, and religion in the Global North/Global West, Dr. Wilcox has authored or edited seven books, including most recently Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious ParodyQueer Religiosities: An Introduction to Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion; and (with Nina Hoel and Liz Wilson) Religion, the Body, and Sexuality. Dr. Wilcox is founding co-editor with Ashon T. Crawley and Tamara C. Ho of the Hauntings book series at New York University Press and founding co-editor with Joseph A. Marchal of the new journal, QTR: A Journal of Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion. Dr. Wilcox’s current research is on religion and spirituality in queer and trans leather, BDSM, and kink communities.

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