Join the Order

The Order of Perpetual Indulgence is more than just a bunch of folk in holy drag. Sisters and Brothers do get to enjoy themselves and are undeniably glamourous, but we take our mission to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt seriously. The Order's year revolves around two dates: Pride Scotia in June and World AIDS Day on December 1st. We raise funds for and take part in these two events, pack and distribute safer sex packs, collect for HIV/AIDS organisations and lgbt rights campaigns, and raise awareness of issues in both those fields.

Okay, already. How do I get involved?

That depends on how much you want to do and whether or not you feel the call of the Habit.

Henchperson

A Knight IndulgarHenchpeople are our valued lay people who, while they do not feel the call of the Habit right now, give their time and effort to help the Order's work. Their role is to do whatever is needed to let the Sisters be Sisters. They help pack safer sex packs, act as the Sisters' pack ponies and as the Order's guards (though this is, thankfully, hardly necessary). Henchpeople don't have to give the same level of commitment as the Sisters, Brothers, Novices and Postulants (but some do), and you can hench on an ad hoc basis. As well as a fascinating insight into the life and work of the Order, henchpeople also get to hear some great gossip and to join in our regular attempts to disprove Rule 34.

Henchpeople do not necessarily adopt a special name, though some (like Pastor Best, before we decided he was a Sister) will find one bestowed upon them. Nor do henchpeople have to dress in a a particular way, though some regular henchpeople are our Knights Indulgar, and dress accordingly. Knights Indulgar mostly have names starting Sir, such as Sir Cum Ference. If you feel particularly extroverted, Brother Bimbo has a wonderful design for an outfit best described as Swiss Guard meets Rainbow Flag. The only restrictions on henchpeople are that they don't wear any of the Habits appropriate to the Sisters and Brothers, and they may not wear full whiteface.

Aspirant

An Aspirant is someone who wishes to become a Sister or Brother, but who has yet to become a Postulant. If you feel the call of the Habit, please contact us, or come along to one of our Nuncheons. Nuncheons are held on the second Sunday of each month from (approximately) 8pm in the Regent Bar on Montrose Terrace. We will invite you to chat with us. This is so we can get to know each other better and we will want to hear why you want to join the Order—we're nosy that way. If you are not sure, we recommend that you hench for us a couple of times before adopting the Habit and becoming a Postulant.

Postulant

A PostulantThe first stage of becoming a fully-professed Sister or Brother, a Postulant wears black clothing and a white headscarf with a red ribbon on it, accessorised with a whistle and name badge. They may wear whiteface, but lips must be white, symbolising that this is a time for listening, not speaking. If whiteface is not worn, lipstick may not be worn, though clear lipgloss is fine. But don't worry, Postulants aren't under a vow of silence or anything like that! Indeed, you will be encouraged to ask questions of the other members. Postulants may not speak on behalf of the Order, but may talk about their experience of it and explain what it's about. You'll spend a lot of time in Habit explaining what it's all about, so it's good to learn it off by heart early!

Postulants adopt a special name, usually an excruciating pun, which they may change from time to time until their true Sister/Brother name is revealed to them. Don't worry if you can't think of anything at first - Pastor Best will come up with something, for sure!

At least one member of your Convent will act as your Mother, providing support and advice. You can ask any fully-professed member to be your Mother, though they are not obliged to accept. Your Mother will also lead the elevation rituals as you progress from Postulant to Novice to Fully-Professed Member.

Postulants must manifest with a Fully-Professed Member present.

Sisters are expected to make their own habits. The illustrations on this page show the Full Traditional Habit worn on formal and solemn occasions such as World AIDS Day and Transgender Day of Remembrance, and generally during the winter because it's nice and toasty. Postulants must have this habit made before they can become a Novice. It will also make the elevation ceremony a little more comprehensible if a Postulant takes time to study your actual Polari.

Novice

A Novice Brother and SisterNovices are Sisters and Brothers in training and wear the Habit with a white veil or hood. It was traditional in the Scottish Order for men to manifest as Sisters, and for women to manifest as Brothers, but women may now be Sisters if they wish. Since this has been the case, all our members who identify as female have chosen to be Sisters and our one remaining Brother wears a Sister's habit, just to confuse people.

The Novice's Habit should start off fairly plain and traditional with a red ribbon as the only decoration. A Novice Sister wears a black tunic, with white guimpe, coif, scapular, crown, twat and veils. A Novice Brother wears a white tunic and hood with a black scapular. Both wear a black, white or black and white cincture, and a whistle, as well as their name badge. On World AIDS Day, a novice may wear a red net veil over their white veil.

The Novice's Habit used to be all white, though this has fallen out of use, mostly because male Novices tended to look more like bad Victorian druids than nuns. We will be delighted if you wish to serve your Novitiate all in white and, it does increase your chances of getting in the papers or on the telly, especially at night-time events. This has become more important now we have a media whoring requirement for Novices!

A Novice may choose to wear a white face, but this is entirely optional in the Scottish Order.

We expect a lot of commitment from Novices. The period of Novitiate lasts at least a year, and more usually two. Novices must manifest at least eight times in that period, as well as doing the same 'behind the scenes' work that Sisters and Brothers do. In this time you will also be expected to take on two projects which are your own, the second bigger than the first. This normally involves organising fundraisers for an HIV/AIDS project or lgbt rights campaign, writing one of our safer sex leaflets, or arranging for us to have a stall or other presence at an event. This web site was originally a Novice project. A good Novice project is one which supports the work of the Order, but enables you to learn how to work with the others. The other members of the Order will support you, but it's your baby.

There is also a media whoring requirement and novices must appear in the professional press or broadcast media at least once. Scotsgay counts. It should be noted that the Order's record for media whoring belongs to Sister Cumina Condom, who was filmed for Canadian TV within a few minutes of first donning the Habit.

Like Postulants, Novices may not speak on behalf of the order. Nor may they manifest without a Fully-Professed Member present (though exceptions may be made for experienced Novices in exceptional circumstances). As you progress, you will take a fuller role in the Order and, eventually, you will be ready to become a

Fully Professed Sister or Brother

Fully-professed members of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence

Once they have been given the go-ahead, the final thing a Novice has to organise is their own vows where they take the black veil or hood and become a full member of the Order with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. You will have to sort out the venue and time, and it must be public. The Novice usually writes the ritual, though copies of previous ones are available for cribbing purposes. Sometimes, though, you will find it sprung upon you. Here's Sister Bogomilia's Black Veiling, which took place before the Pride Scotia march in June 2010:

Fully-Professed Members (FPMs) may speak on behalf of the Order, and may wear whatever colour veil they like, though black is the default. Red veils are worn on World AIDS Day, and rainbow ones are available for Pride. FPMs do not need the other FPMs to manifest, are expected to take on the role of responsible adult where needed and can supervise and mentor Postulants and Novices.