Like a thrilling baseball contest that comes down to the ninth inning, a team that’s only a couple of runs ahead needs a game-saving pitcher, preferably with a wicked fastball. This week, the Los Angeles Dodgers saved their reputation, or at least minimized the damage, after an unforced error team executives made on May 17 when they disinvited the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Indulgence. Perpetual from their June 16 game at Pride Night against the San Francisco. giants. On Monday, the team formally apologized and invited the Sisters back to the game, and the Sisters accepted.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been a mainstay in LGBTQ culture since they made their first appearance on Easter Sunday in San Francisco in 1979. Since then, the group has established orders around the world, including Los Angeles, where they were based. that chapter. will receive a Community Hero Award during a Dodgers pregame ceremony for all the work he has done raising money for charity and highlighting awareness of drag and LGBTQ life.
It was the Sisters of St. Francis who produced one of the first pamphlets on safer sex in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. In short, they promote a serious message of acceptance, equality, and staying healthy while having a lot of fun doing it and raising money to help other queer groups. Everybody likes the Sisters, except, that is, the Catholic Church.
In fact, it was the Catholic organizations that went on a rampage with the Dodgers, leading the team to disinvite the transvestite nuns. Both the Catholic League and CatholicVote protested, along with US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred complaining about the Dodgers inviting the Sisters and writing that the group mocks Christianity. Rubio was seconded by the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco himself, Salvatore Cordileone. Rubio also referred to the Sisters wearing “lewd imitation” of nuns.
And there you have it: Conservatives are once again trying to equate drag with lewdness, just as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) did by signing into law banning children from attending drag shows. (By the time you read this, DeSantis will likely have formally declared himself a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.) Drag is a culture of its own, jokingly satirizing all kinds of institutions, religious and otherwise. That is freedom of expression.
Of course, a backlash quickly ensued. The Los Angeles LGBT Center and LA Pride, which partners with the Dodgers on Pride Night, threatened to pull out of the event. After the team’s investment, LA Pride once again works with the Dodgers at the event. The Dodgers’ statement indicates that the organization had heard criticism of its initial action.
“The Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their friends and family,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th Annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night.”
Southern California LGBTQ organizations weren’t the only groups to condemn the Dodgers. Los Angeles City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, wrote on Twitter: “Los Angeles should be a place where everyone feels empowered to express themselves, and this measure undermines that.” Thirty-nine members of the Los Angeles state legislative delegation expressed their support, stating that the values espoused by the Sisters—diversity, inclusion, and promoting human rights—“should be celebrated, not suppressed,” as the Los Angeles Times reported.
Not to be outdone, Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken tweeted last weekend that she would invite the Sisters to be her guests at LA Pride Night on June 7; so now it looks like the Sisters will be invited to two Pride Nights instead of one. How appropriate.
Suffice it to say that if it hadn’t been for the condemnation of LGBTQ organizations and activists, political leaders, opinion columnists and many others, the Dodgers probably wouldn’t have changed course. There was no excuse for the Dodgers’ initial action, and we’re glad the team recognized their mistake. By now these Pride games in major professional sports, which have been going on for years, are a no-brainer.
There’s a gay history with the Dodgers, though it’s not a pretty one. The team traded gay baseball player Glenn Burke in the early 1970s, after he befriended then-manager Tommy Lasorda’s gay son Tommy Lasorda Jr., who died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, though his father denied it at the time. as Poz magazine reported in a 2021 article. Burke was traded to the Oakland A’s, where his homosexuality was an open secret before retiring from the sport and coming out publicly in 1982. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1995. Today, there are still no active professional baseball players at the major league level who are out of the closet.
Overall, we’re glad the Dodgers did the right thing, but they shouldn’t have rescinded the invite in the first place.
Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going through these difficult times. To support independent, local LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a member of BAR.