The Los Angeles Dodgers, who faced enormous backlash over last week’s choice to disinvite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from their annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night, reversed course on Monday. The team apologized to the group and extended a new invitation for it to attend the festivities, which are scheduled to be held on June 16 at Dodger Stadium. The Sisters have accepted the invitation and some of the groups that had vowed to boycott have agreed to return as well.
The Sisters, who describe themselves as “a leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns,” employ humor and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance. The Dodgers will be presenting the group with a Community Hero Award — the same award the Sisters had previously been in line to receive.
“After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families,” the team said in its statement.
Why It Matters
The Dodgers, who integrated Major League Baseball in 1947 by calling up Jackie Robinson, have long viewed themselves as champions of inclusion and the annual Pride Night has been a high-priority event for the team. The decision to disinvite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which came after complaints from politicians and religious groups, resulted in a swift backlash. LA Pride, the organization that runs the LA Pride Parade & Festival, pulled out of the Dodgers’ event in protest, as did groups like the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
The LGBT Center had gone as far as to insist that the Dodgers cancel the event if the Sisters were not allowed to attend.
All of this came less than a year after the team took a large step in acknowledging the failures of its past by inviting the family of Glenn Burke, the first major leaguer to come out as gay, to last year’s Pride Night. Burke, who made little attempt to hide his sexuality, was traded to the Oakland Athletics after refusing the team’s offer of $75,000 toward his honeymoon provided he married a woman. Once a promising prospect, his career faded quickly and he died of AIDS complications in 1995.
The LGBT Center immediately announced that it would join the Sisters at Pride Night, honoring its pledge to return to the event if the team changed its decision. The group thanked members of the Los Angeles community who protested and said that a lot could be learned from how the situation played out.
“Last week’s debacle underscores the dangerous impact of political tactics by those who seek to stoke the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack,” the group said in a statement. “We must continue to stand together as a community in defense of the rights and recognition of LGBTQ+ people in Los Angeles and beyond.”
LA Pride will also return. The group released a statement on Monday night saying it would “stand in solidarity” with the Sisters.
In the team’s statement announcing it had reinvited the Sisters, the Dodgers acknowledged that there was more work to be done to repair their relationship with the community.
“In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family,” the statement said.
Scott Miller contributed reporting.