The day after the Los Angeles Dodgers disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – an LGBTQ group
that dresses in religious drag – the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center called for the team to either bring back the Sisters or cancel the team’s 10th annual Pride Night, set for June 16.
“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 center’s CEO Joe Hollendoner said in a statement on Thursday.
L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, a former mayor of West Hollywood, tweeted on Wednesday, “If they’re not invited, I’m not going. Celebrating Pride is about inclusion. Do better.” The ACLU added, “In unity with @SFSisters, we will not participate in Pride Night.”
On Wednesday, the Dodgers said that “in the spirit of unity,” the team had decided to rescind its invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence because they had been “the source of some controversy.”
Catholic priest R.M. Vierling, who wrote to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to disinvite the sisters’ and encouraged others to do the same by listing Manfred’s email address online, celebrated the decision on Twitter, saying, “Justice was done in the end.”
“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our event, 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,” read the Dodgers’ statement, which was shared to social media.
LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said he and the center are “are deeply disappointed,” and that now is not the time to “[cave] to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people… In a year where over 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation are on the books — many of them targeting freedom of speech, expression, and the bodily autonomy of our community — the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is as critical as ever, and unfortunately the Dodgers chose to bow to the religious right rather than stand with our LGBTQ community.”
Hollendoner added, “We call on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision, honor the Sisters, and bring the true spirit of Pride back to Dodgers Stadium.”
The Sisters shared their own statement to Twitter, which read, in part, “The Dodgers capitulated in response to hateful and misleading from people outside their community who target not only the LGBTQQ++ community, but also women’s autonomy over their bodies, people and communities of color and other faiths and nationalities.”
As they explain in the statement, the charitable organization began in 1979 in response to the AIDS crisis: “The Sisters were among the first” to fundraise for AIDS patients and to “create and distribute safer-sex information.”