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Anaheim mayor invites drag Sisters to Angels Pride Night after the Dodgers banned them

JULY 20 2016: Thousands of delegates, activists, spectators & law enforcement from all over the US descended onto Cleveland for the RNC. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence in 2016 Photo: Shutterstock

After the LA Dodgers uninvited an LGBTQ+ group to its Pride Night, the mayor of Anaheim, California invited the group to join her for the Pride Night held by the team’s local rival, the LA Angels.

LGBTQ+ advocates have slammed the Dodgers for caving to pressure from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Catholic groups by canceling an appearance by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a non-profit LGBTQ+ group of performers and activists who dress as campy nuns.

The group was initially scheduled to receive the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award at the team’s annual Pride Night on June 16. Founded in 1979 in San Francisco, the group has grown into an international network of “orders” devoted “to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment,” according to their mission statement.

But their inclusion in the Dodgers event sparked outrage from far-right Catholics, including Rubio, who claimed that the group makes a mockery of their religion. In response, the Dodgers removed them from the list of honorees.

Adding to the chorus of voices blasting the Dodgers for cowardice, hypocrisy, and pandering, Mayor Ashleigh Aitken condemned the team and invited the group to join her for a different celebration.

“I’m inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to join me for @Angels Pride Night at Anaheim Stadium on June 7,” she tweeted. “Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers decision.”

Aitken spoke with local ABC affiliate KABC about her disappointment in the Dodgers.

“I think it was a missed opportunity to really err on the side of being inclusive and err on the side of standing up for our marginalized communities, especially on the eve of Harvey Milk Day. Especially on the eve of Pride Month,” she said.

In a statement condemning their exclusion by the Dodgers, the Sisters emphasized that they are “not anti-Catholic, but an organization based on love, acceptance, and celebrating human diversity.”

They detailed the history of the organization, which was founded in response to the AIDS crisis. “The Sisters were among the first to raise money to help care for people with AIDS and to create and distribute safer-sex information.”

They also called out the irony of being condemned by the Catholic Church. “It is a statistical fact that children are at less risk in the company of drag queens than clergy,” the statement declared.

Many have stood up for the Sisters, including the LA LGBT Center and LA Pride, both of which withdrew their participation from Dodgers Pride Night.

And a statement from Equality California executive director Tony Hoang criticized the Dodgers for their decision at a time when drag performers are under attack from far-right hate groups and Republican politicians across the country.

“As longtime community leaders, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have raised millions of dollars for causes including HIV/AIDS healthcare, affordable housing, violence prevention, and drug abuse prevention in addition to offering grants to direct-service organizations and small businesses that support underrepresented communities,” Hoang wrote.

“The anti-LGBTQ+ extremists who advocated for the removal of the Sisters from Pride Night are the very same people who are trying to erase the rights of trans kids and their families, criminalize drag performance and roll back equality for LGBTQ+ people across the country — we cannot and will not let them win,” he continued. “We call on the Dodgers to reinstate The Sisters as an honoree for Pride Night and work towards strengthening their commitment to unity.”

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