Late Wednesday we learned that the L.A. Dodgers had decided to disinvite the L.A. chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from their annual Pride Night game at Dodger Stadium — something the drag nuns were invited to this year to be recipients of the team's Community Hero Award.
The negative reactions have been widespread especially among San Francisco's queer community, though Senator Marco Rubio is pleased with himself. Rubio sent a letter the other day to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, saying that by honoring "a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians" the Dodgers were not being "inclusive and welcoming to everyone."
After the Dodgers' widely publicized disinvitation, which they framed as trying to avoid "distraction" and "controversy," the Los Angeles LGBT Center announced they would be backing out of Pride Night, which they have participated in at Dodger Stadium for years. "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,’" said the center's CEO Joe Hollendoner.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Los Angeles responded with their own statement Wednesday, saying they were "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."
"Our mission is to uplift our community and all marginalized groups, especially the ones ignored by larger organizations, spiritually oriented or otherwise," the group says. "We are both silly and serious. We use our flamboyance in service of 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 live for their own self.'"
This all falls into a long-running series of dustups the Sisters have had with the Catholic church, conservative politicians, and with church-y people writ large — and it's shameful whenever fools like Rubio, who don't get any of the context or don't know any of the history, decide to target them for political points with their Christian base. Because the work the Sisters do is far more Christian in its intent than the hateful, divisive shit most self-described Christian politicians get up to. Anyone remember the uproar over that Last Supper poster for Folsom Street Fair in 2007?
As writer Mark Harris wrote on Twitter, "The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was founded in 1979. One was on Newsweek's first AIDS cover. They were major activists in the 1st years of the crisis. They are sewn into the AIDS quilt. This is a pathetic capitulation to bigotry and an insult to their long fight against it."
Harris is referring to the fact that the Sisters' first chapter in San Francisco — they are now worldwide — is responsible for publishing the first safe-sex pamphlet in 1982, long before anyone understood what the HIV virus was or how it was spread, trying to get the word out that it may be spread through unprotected sex.
It's particularly egregious that the Dodgers would capitulate to this conservative pressure, particularly in a moment when Red State America has decided that all drag is evil, or that it's promoting some woke agenda — maybe because of the great visibility and popularity of Rupaul's Drag Race, or Drag Queen Story Hours, or the fact that Republicans have seized on their latest LGTBQ wedge issue in the country's long-running culture war, which is trans kids.
"What the Dodgers and the hateful 'Christians' protesting the Sisters may not know (or are choosing to ignore) is that the Sisters are not mocking Nuns. We ARE Nuns," says San Francisco's Sister Roma, the most visible of the Sisters who was in that 2007 Last Supper photo. "We feed the hungry, we minister to the sick, we support queer and trans youth, we fund queer arts, and we have always defended the most underserved and marginalized communities. AND We have raised millions of dollars for charity and looked fabulous doing it."
Roma adds, "I'm angry. I'm disappointed. I'm worried. The red wave of queer and trans hate that has drenched the South has come to our shores. Now is not the time to be complacent."
California state Senator Scott Wiener, also had some words, writing on Twitter Wednesday, "In the past month, right wing mobs demanded that Anheuser Busch stop featuring a trans woman in an ad & that the Dodgers kick drag queens out of its Pride celebration. Both Anheuser Busch & the Dodgers caved. The danger to our community grows by the day."
He added, "We expect more from our sports teams — even the Dodgers."
The Dodgers' full statement is below. Boycott the Bums!
Really sad to see the Dodgers cave to pressure & kick drag queens out of a Pride celebration. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence do amazing, life-saving work in the community.— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) May 17, 2023
We expect more from our sports teams — even the Dodgers. https://t.co/TFsesI2C7F
Previously: Dodgers Disinvite Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence From Pride Night