The Los Angeles Dodgers and LA Pride are under fire from the LGBTQ+ community after the team rescinded an award to a drag nonprofit group to participate in an upcoming Pride event.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a non-profit group of LGBTQ+ activists who dress as campy nuns, were initially scheduled to receive the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award at the team’s annual Pride Night on June 16. But on Wednesday, the Dodgers announced that the group had been removed from their list of honorees, bowing to pressure from Catholic groups who claimed that the Sisters make a mockery of their religion.
The decision drew swift condemnation from the LGBTQ+ community and calls to cancel the event.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Dodgers — an organizational partner that has made significant strides towards dismantling anti-LGBTQ+ bias in sports and long-standing supporter of our mission — has decided to revoke their invitation to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at their upcoming Pride Night,” Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said in a statement Thursday. His statement demanded that the Dodgers either reverse their decision or cancel the event altogether.
“Buckling to pressure from out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists, the Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people,” he continued. “They have been fed lies about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and have therefore contributed to the ongoing, anti-LGBTQ smear campaign happening in this country.”
Hollendoner then noted the more than 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that have been introduced in state houses across the U.S. in 2023 alone. “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 ACLU of Southern California tweeted that it would not participate in the event in solidarity with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
In a statement, Equality California executive director Tony Hoang also criticized the Dodgers for their decision.
“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.”
“This is pure COWARDICE and BULLS**T, @dodgers,” tweeted actor and LGBTQ+ activist Wilson Cruz. “#thesistersofperpetualindulgence have done MORE GOOD in the world and for our community than the #catholicchurch EVER has. You’re either an ally organization or your TIRED and too scared of your own shadow to stand up for GOOD.”
Cruz went on to call on LA Pride, a co-sponsor of the event, to cancel Pride Night at Dodgers Stadium. “It’s ALL f us or NONE of us,” he wrote in a tweet. “The @dodgers need US a helluva lot more than we could ever need them. If they can’t see what the right side of history is, that’s on them. They can truly go F**K themselves. I’m embarrassed for them.”
As of Thursday afternoon, LA Pride has not responded to either the Dodgers’ decision or to the backlash. The organization remained silent earlier this week as Catholic leaders, including Rep. Marco Rubio (R-FL), criticized the event and smeared the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
“I don’t see how @lapride can continue to partner with the @Dodgers for so-called ‘pride night’ after this move,” tweeted author and Dodgers fan Karen Tongson Thursday. “We need to stand up for ourselves here.”
“F**k the Dodgers and their bulls**t corporate Pride night,” tweeted writer and podcaster Ira Madison III, while RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel cuttingly described the team’s decision as “tired.”
On Thursday, the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence responded to the Dodgers’ decision in a statement.
“Today, we are sad to learn the Los Angeles Dodgers have chosen to rescind their award, succumbing to pressure from persons outside of the State of California and outside of our community. We are disappointed they have chosen to un-ally themselves with us in our ongoing service to the public, many of whom enjoy the Dodgers’s heroic efforts in sports,” the statement read.
“Our work speaks for us. We do not serve to receive awards or accolades,” it continued. “We are grateful and proud when other organizations choose to acknowledge our service, yet our own focus remains on the work of removing suffering and promulgating joy. 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.”