A night meant to highlight inclusion has become one of controversy after one group was uninvited from participating in the Los Angles Dodgers’ 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night next month.
The Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who were going to be honored with the team’s Community Hero Award, have been removed from the lineup of this year’s event.
The Sisters are a self-described “leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns” who use “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
They are known for their activism on behalf of LGBTQ rights and their support for those living with HIV and other causes.
Despite their intentions, the Sisters’ use of Roman Catholic imagery, in particular, rankled some, including Catholic organizations and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who wrote a letter of complaint to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“Do you believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers are being ‘inclusive and welcoming to everyone’ by giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians — and not only Christians, but nuns, who devote their lives to serving others?” Rubio wrote.
In response to Rubio and others, the Dodgers decided to uninvite the Sisters.
“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees,” the team said in a statement.
While the move has garnered praise from critics, the Sisters and others criticized the Dodgers for “succumbing to pressure from persons outside of the State of California and outside of our community,” as the group said in a statement of response.
“While we may no longer appear on Dodgers Pride Night we will be out on the streets of Los Angeles continuing to serve and uplift our community,” the statement added. “If being true to oneself with love, joy and pride is a sin, then we, having been cancelled by the New York Post, and now the Dodgers, will do what we always do. We will go out and sin some more.”
The Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner put out a statement in support of the Sisters, blaming “out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists” for “perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people.”
“We call on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision, honor the Sisters, and bring the true spirit of Pride back to Dodgers Stadium,” Hollendoner wrote. “If the decision is not reversed, we strongly encourage the Dodgers to cancel Pride Night. Any organization that turns its back on LGBTQ+ people at this damning and dangerous inflection point in our nation’s history should not be hoisting a rainbow flag or hosting a ‘Pride Night.’”
The Sisters also received support from Northern California. State Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat and member of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, criticized the Dodgers for backing down and included a subtle dig at the San Francisco Giants’ rivals.
“Really sad to see the Dodgers cave to pressure & kick drag queens out of a Pride celebration,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do amazing, life-saving work in the community. We expect more from our sports teams — even the Dodgers.”