JACK FERTIG, also known as SISTER BOOM BOOM XXX, died of liver cancer in San Francisco on this date. He was an original. In 1982, Sister Boom Boom ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with agitprop campaigning tactics bringing humor and raising issues she felt were being ignored in the race. She won 23,124 votes with her occupation listed as “Nun of the Above”. Five supervisors were elected; she placed eighth. After she started campaigning for mayor in 1983 against incumbent Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco passed a law requiring candidates to use only their legal names on the ballot. This was commonly called the “Sister Boom Boom law”.
Due to internal disputes, Fertig broke from the Sisters in 1985. He went on to pursue his Divine calling and became an award-winning astrologer and respected Queer Muslim activist. He was an avid organizer in the leather and sober communities. Cleve Jones, AIDS activist and creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt,remembers Sister Boom Boom as a “dear friend” and a “fierce advocate for the poor and immigrant communities.” He also said, “I knew this person Sister Boom Boom and I knew Jack Fertig and it took me a year and a half to realize they were the same person!”
In 2009, a mysterious figure in a burqa, appeared at the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence 30th Anniversary Exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The black silhouette revealed herself as “Sister Boom Boom XXX.” When asked about the name change in a 2010 interview, Sister explained, “Sister Boom Boom is my slave name. Now that I am Muslim, I’m Boom Boom XXX.” Since the 30th anniversary, Sister Boom Boom XXX had started to reconnect with the Sisters at socials and select public events. That same year, Sister Boom Boom XXX spoke at a “Sister Spirituality” panel for San Francisco’s Buddhist Fellowship. It would be her last public appearance.
Sister Boom Boom XXX, legendary change-maker and hot ginger, joined the Nuns of Above in 2012. We all honor the Queer power that manifested as Sister Boom Boom XXX and we will ensure our Sister’s legacy is not forgotten.