BONUS: Exploring Empowerment with Sister Unity

episodes show notes Sep 04, 2020

She is hilarious. She is irreverent. She is devastating in her academic acumen and her theatrical talent.

And, although we may be laughing, her messages are packed with wisdom and insights many listeners will find life-affirming.

While we pause our regular episodes and prepare a spectacular Season 2 of the GerleMen Podcast, we’d like you to enjoy some short, bonus episodes, co-hosted by my dear friend and rambunctious orange Nun, Sister Unity of the Los Angeles House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

So enjoy the show my friends! We’ve packed all this awesomeness into some very short clips.

Mentioned in this episode:

Don Kilhefner (Listen to Wisdom of the Tribal Elder: From Revolutionary to Eldering with Dr. Don Kilhefner episode from S1)

Don on Social Media:

Listen to the very 1st Episode of the podcast with our beloved Sister Unity where we talk about The Queer Hero's Journey.

Sister Unity on Social Media:

Get connected:


Full Episode Transcript:

Mike Gerle  0:00  

Hello GerleMen listeners. While we pause our regular episodes and prepare a spectacular Season Two of the GerleMen podcast we'd like you to enjoy some short bonus episodes co hosted by my dear friend and rambunctious orange nun, Sister unity. The sister unity of the Los Angeles House of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence that we had in Episode One. She's hilarious and she's irreverent, but she's also devastating in her academic accuracy. And her theater talent is brilliant. You'll hear the joy we have into laughter while we're digging into these ideas, but our messages are packed with wisdom and insights many GerleMen will find life affirming. So enjoy the show my friends and pay attention. Remember, you can find us anywhere podcasts can be found from iTunes, Stitcher, to Spotify, wherever you find us, please hit that subscribe button. Sign up to our newsletter and our website at It's a place to see some of our video outtakes from each episode. Or contact us on Facebook again just search for girly men and if you're feeling old school send me an email at [email protected] Enjoy the show.


Mike Gerle  1:19  

What does empowerment mean to you? How does that land on Sister Unity's essence 


Sister Unity  1:25  

Politics. How the politics are the personal, huh? Because what do you use your power for? You use it first to create or to find a sense of agency in yourself even before agency which implies an impulse towards action which we'll get to in a moment, but self recognition. In Hinduism, the very beginning is the Lingam. The pillar, you may see like a picture of Shiva Shiva Lingam, which is a pillar and it's on this sort of round. base that has a promontory coming off. That's good. That's the Yoni, and these are metaphors for existence and existing, realities, physical illness, and its activeness, which are really two aspects of one thing. I'm using these two words to describe one thing. That's where you get the mythology of Shiva and Shakti, the two gods who are making love, it's the two who are one, it's the this nature of reality as both noun and verb, it is existence and it exists. So, empowerment is the energy of you, in relation to the existence of you and the acknowledgement or the realization of both. So that very first spark of Aha, I am. That: *grunt*! I am here it's the I am here part of we're here we're queer, get used to it, that then implies a will to action Or an ability to act, motivation, inspiration, which then quickly becomes anything from sex, romance, acting on love. I mean, if we're talking in the queer realm, speaking up for yourself speaking up for those like you all of those to quote Larry claimer to put Larry claimer in a different context. All of those are political acts. Every Larry Kramer every gay kiss is a revolution.


Mike Gerle  3:25  

Mm hmm


Sister Unity  3:26  

political act. Every every every gay act is a political act. A world where our sex is legislated away.


Mike Gerle  3:34  

and I just got goosebumps because I get to tell a story about me.


Sister Unity  3:39  

That's why he does this podcast everyone, not about helping you.


Mike Gerle  3:43  

We talked about that the kiss being political. I actually did have a lovely I wish I could find it. It's a picture of me and this other guy kissing during one of those ap 101 protests. It was raining there were cops there and and we


Sister Unity  3:57  

didn't pummel you.


Mike Gerle  3:59  

Yeah, well. They were that's what I love being queer during this protest. They were these blue gloves. And when they were holding the barricades and we were pushing on them our chant was "Your gloves don't match your shoes, your gloves don't match your shoes!". And then a friend of mine, I mean, we were never, we never hooked up before after that, but we made out


Sister Unity  4:19  

On the police line?


Mike Gerle  4:21  

On the police line, and there's pictures of it, and people pushing the police, whatever and we're kissing, you know, because when you


Sister Unity  4:27  

Okay, well, you just into each other, or were you consciously kissing because it was an act of performance art defiance?


Mike Gerle  4:35  

It's exactly that. I mean, when you're talking about empowerment, that's when I realized Yes, that's what I felt empowered to do that act was activism. It was it was a force that could be harnessed to transmit my dignity.


Sister Unity  4:52  

So as in a previous podcasts that we did on celebration, we come to the same common denominator. It all begins with a record ignition of self inside. And that then inspires in one case celebration. And in this case it inspires a purpose and, and call to action, to preserve, to expand, to improve, to free, to allow, to empower, to create the self, internally and then externally. To make room for oneself in one's head and heart and to make room for oneself and others like one in the world.


Mike Gerle  5:29  

Mm hmm


Sister Unity  5:30  

comes from that recognition of who one is, and then seeing oneself as that celebrated honor itself in juxtaposition to a context to a society that wants one dead, removed, quiet, invisible. Those are the two pieces of Flint clicking together, recognition of self negative context click and you get the spark of action. Political Action.


Mike Gerle  5:55  

Yeah, Don Kilhefner talked about some things. I mentioned something that he him and a group of that wasn't even there, I don't even know if the Radical Faeries existed that or not, but they may not. This may have been before that group of queer people decided there were two counties in the middle of California that we were just going to move in and become. We were going to switch it blew just by the sheer there were so few of them that the queer people were going to move there. They move there. It didn't take you know, it's the middle of California...


Sister Unity  6:26  

Dry and hot.


Mike Gerle  6:27  

It's dry and hot! It's in the West. Yeah, but this is what's interesting, that energy most of hung in the air because they're the only two counties that remained blue on the prop eight vote.


Sister Unity  6:41  

Interesting. Do you know which county says where?


Mike Gerle  6:43  

I should be able to just tell you but they are I did mention them at the beginning of the Don Kilhefner interview. So...


Sister Unity  6:48  

Research children. Archives.


Mike Gerle  6:52  

And I think there might even be a link in the show notes to that because it was just so cool to me that even though they don't have this thriving coven or whatever we wanted to put out there, our energy still must be there.


Sister Unity  7:05  

Here's a wonderful example of how empower, self empowerment ultimately can lead to liberation of more than oneself.


Mike Gerle  7:13  

Mm hmm.


Sister Unity  7:14  

You were talking about this movement. And I think Harvey Milk told people the same thing. He said, Go out and come out of the closet and in front of people. And we did this during prop eight, the strategy was get out to all the red places in the red neighborhoods that voted against our rights, and show yourself and let them know who you are. So that takes trusting yourself, knowing yourself, being purposefully your self, your queer self, in public in front of other people and self empowerment, then you are creating an action of exerting your power. And if you've changed the mind of someone who had other homosexuals and LGBTQ of all types peoples, and had rejected them, hated them, seeing them as weak and therefore need to be beat up or whatever, if you've changed their mind by opening their mind and changing their perspective and informing them and all the things that happen in an organic conversation where they go, Oh, you know, I hated gays, but you're okay. And if you're okay, maybe I can let this go. So there's liberation.


Mike Gerle  8:18  

Yeah. They're liberated.


Sister Unity  8:21  

Then they do less harm to their kids or others.


Mike Gerle  8:26  

Or that just goes into the whole like girly men philosophy. It's like, invest in yourself and then invest in your family, and then you change the world.


Mike Gerle  8:36  

I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode of The GerleMen podcast. I want to thank Sister Unity for her magic, her wisdom. And most of all for her huge open heart. We started this podcast with the promise that we deliver heart centered connection, both sister unity and I want you to feel the love that we have for ourselves, for each other and for you, are queer and dear family. We are all one. We are all connected. And we'll see you next time.


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