Dodgers’ Removal of LGBT Group From Pride Event Sparks National Debate

Leading L.A. LGBT organization calls for Dodgers to cancel team’s Pride Night event if Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are not reinstated

The Los Angeles LGBT Center has removed its support for the Los Angeles Dodgers Pride Night, scheduled for June 16, and called for a cancelation of the event if the team doesn’t reinstate the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Dodgers released a statement May 17 announcing that the L.A. chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the irreverent queer and trans rights activist group known for satirically using religious imagery in its messaging, would no longer welcomed at the annual Pride Night after it was originally invited to accept the Community Hero Award.

The decision was made after the team received pressure from conservative figures and religious groups.

“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees,” the Dodgers said in the statement.

“The Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people,” Joe Hollendoner,  CEO of the L.A. LGBT Center, responded today. “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.”

The controversy surrounding the nonprofit was ignited by objections to the group’s inclusion at the event by conservative and religious groups around the country—amplified by Senator Marco Rubio, who wrote a formal complaint to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

In his letter, Rubio wrote: “Do you believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers are being ‘inclusive and welcoming to everyone’ by giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians—and not only Christians, but nuns, who devote their lives to serving others?”

Hollendoner, who demanded the team invite the group the back, is calling on Dodgers’ management to cancel the entire event.

“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,’” he said.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence nonprofit was founded in 1979 and has since become a beloved part of the LGBT+ community, say the group’s supporters.

One member, Albert Ontiveros, aka Sister Bearoncé Knows, says that the group isn’t trying to offend Catholics but uses satire to educate the public on issues that affect the LGBT+ community.

“We have obviously reclaimed the imagery of a sister as we do dress in traditional nun garb”  Ontiveros told L.A. Mag. “But we do this for one reason, and that is to get attention. And once we get people’s attention, we can talk about things like the radical need to continue the fight against HIV and AIDS.”