1955 - 2012

Jack Fertig was born in Chicago on February 21, 1955, but was destined to become emblematic of his adopted and beloved San Francisco. At age 25, Fertig joined the newly formed LGBT activist group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The organization combined drag with religious imagery for satirical street performance and protests. Delighting and angering thousands, they helped to bring an outrageous gay consciousness into the mainstream during the 1980s. Fertig’s persona – “Sister Boom Boom” – whose full name was Sister Rose of the Bloody Stains of the Sacred Robes of Jesus – was the best known and most flamboyant of the order. She quickly became the group's public face, regularly appearing in Herb Caen’s San Francisco Chronicle column and on local television. In 1982, Sister Boom Boom – who listed his occupation as "Nun of the Above" – ran for a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. With five seats open, Sister Boom Boom placed eighth in the race with 23,124 votes. In 1983 Sister Boom Boom made his “Surrender Dianne” bid for mayor against Dianne Feinstein, but the city supervisors passed an ordinance requiring candidates to use only their legal names on the ballot, a measure which has thereafter been referred to as the "Sister Boom Boom Law." On the Friday before the 1984 Democratic convention Sister Boom Boom performed an "exorcism" of Jerry Falwell and Phyllis Schafly before a crowd of 2,000, in an attempt to purge the negative elements from the Republican Party. Fertig retired Sister Boom Boom in 1985, joined a sobriety program, and remained sober for the rest of his life. He continued to be an advocate and activist not only in the LGBT community, but also for the poor, immigrant, and sober communities. Fertig was a practicing astrologer for years, turning professional in the 1980s. He continued to give readings until shortly before his death on August 5, 2012. He died in his San Francisco home from liver cancer at age 57, survived by his partner of 18 years, Elias Trevino.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Genderqueer/Non-Binary

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Faith Construct Catholic Islamic Protestant

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980)

Field(s) of Contribution




Social Justice


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell