LGBTQ+ groups withdraw from Dodgers' Pride Night after team disinvites legendary charity

Several LGBTQ+ groups in the Los Angeles area have withdrawn from participating in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 10th annual Pride Night in solidarity with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a legendary LGBTQ+ charity and protest group that the Dodgers disinvited Monday.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and the ACLU of Southern California announced Thursday that they will not participate in Pride Night unless the Dodgers reinvite the Sisters.

In the largest blow yet, LA Pride, the Dodgers' longtime LGBTQ+ community partner and the most prominent group involved in Pride Night, also announced Thursday their decision to withdraw from the event.

Several area politicians, including the L.A. County Supervisor and the city government of West Hollywood, also publicly criticized the Dodgers for their decision to disinvite the Sisters.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was founded in 1979 and has spent its existence raising money for those on the fringes of society and fighting for the right of self-expression — and its members use drag (typically nuns habits) to do it. The group was vital in the first years of the AIDS epidemic, ministering to dying patients who were often alone and without family. They've been serving the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ community for nearly 30 years, which is presumably why the Dodgers chose to honor them with a Community Hero award.

Dodger Stadium celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)
Dodger Stadium celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)

Why would the Dodgers rescind a community award for a group like that? They received letters from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the Catholic League (which is not a charity), who presume the Sisters to be anti-Catholic due to their use of habits in their work. The team didn't mention the letters in its statement announcing the removal of the Sisters, but the Dodgers did mention "people who have been offended by the sisters' inclusion in our evening."

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have not let this incident damper their spirits. Here's part of the statement they released to the public after the Dodgers rescinded the award.

We, the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, were recently awarded a Community Hero Award by the Los Angeles Dodgers for our twenty-seven years of service to the LGBTQIA Community. 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.

Some errant information presented by persons unfamiliar with our work needs clarification: We are a charity organization and we are human rights activists. Our mission is to uplift our community and all marginalized groups, especially the ones ignored by larger organizations, spiritually oriented or otherwise. We are queer nuns serving our people just as nuns of other cultures serve theirs. We are not solely male; our membership includes all genders, religions, and romantic affiliations. Though we both serve the transgender community and have transgender members, we are not an exclusively trans organization. We unequivocally support the rights of transgender people.

We are both silly and serious. We use our flamboyance in service to our charity work and our message, which is, “There is room in our world for each person to be who they are, as they are, free from shame or guilt, and alive in joy and love for their own self.” [...]

Our work speaks for us. We do not serve to receive awards or accolades. 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. 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.

May grace cover all your bases. May you shine like a diamond.