Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The new RC Archbishop of SF, Salvatore Cordileone, is quoted as saying “No Drag Queens” to Brian Costello, new pastor of Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro. Drag Queens have been banned for that church. This story appeared in the Bay Area Report and was quoted in Leah Garchik’s column in the SF Chronicle.

When I was rector of Trinity Episcopal in the late nineteen nineties, I conducted at least five funerals of drag queens in the church. They were usually held on Saturday afternoons. Neighbors heads would lean out the windows in amazement as limos and motorized Cable Cars would pull up to the church and exquisitely dressed drag queens and their entourages would emerge and proceed quietly and respectfully into the cavernous Trinity Church.

Usually about four hundred people showed up to participate in the memorial service for one of the departed queens. The music was tasteful and traditional, Amazin’ Grace and “T’ll We Meet Again were popular. Eulogies giving thanks for the lives of the departed, hilarious stories of some escapades and tender tales of ministering to dying AIDS patients. I always preached a sermon on death and new life. There were prayers for the departed and his family. The procession out of the church was sung to God Save Our Nellie Queen with Empress Jose Saria bringing up the rear.

The church received a generous gift of money by the families and friends of the departed. I saw that welcoming these queens was just part of the ministry of the church.