By The Vanguard Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Dodgers Monday announced—less than a week after disinviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to their Pride Night—it was reinviting the group after a strong backlash from LGBTQ+ and civil rights groups, state, federal and local politicians and even Dodgers employees, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night. We are pleased to share that they are agreed to share the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work they have done tirelessly for decades,” a statement released by the Dodgers read.
“After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the 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 Dodgers added.
In words of contrition, the Dodgers said, “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 Dodger family.”
The June 16 Pride Night game against the San Francisco Giants had been in doubt with organizations threatening to pull out when the Dodgers disinvited the “Sisters,” a “satirical performance and activist organization with a decades-long history of raising awareness and money for LGBTQ+ causes while providing comfort and resources to AIDS patients and unhoused queer and trans youth,” said the LA Times.
The group had been slated to receive the team’s Community Hero Award in a pregame ceremony.
“R.M. Vierling, a Catholic priest with a large social media following, posted on Twitter that he had written to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred about ‘this outrageous insult to Catholics’ and listed Manfred’s email address online,” explained the Times, adding Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also “sent a letter to Manfred expressing dismay that the Dodgers would honor the Sisters.”
The LA Times wrote Monday the “Dodgers and the commissioner’s office in New York were inundated with calls and emails that two Dodgers employees familiar with the team’s thinking said were a factor in the decision not to give the Sisters the Community Hero Award, which was given in 2019 to the L.A. LGBT Center in 2017.”
Although Pride Night’s future was threatened, it was seen as “unacceptable to the Dodgers, whose senior vice president for marketing, communications and broadcasting, Erik Braverman, is gay and a respected voice in championing LGBTQ+ acceptance throughout baseball. He spearheaded the implementation of Dodgers Pride Night in 2013,” said the LA Times.
One of the employees who requested anonymity said last Thursday to the LA Times that if the Dodgers lost Pride Night, “I don’t know how we’d come back from that.”
According to the LA Times, another employee said, “We knew the Sisters would react, but we didn’t have a feel for how swift and strong the response was going to be and how it would pull in others. And a lot of employees are upset.”
The L.A. LGBT Center demanded the Dodgers reverse course or cancel Pride Night altogether. The ACLU posted on Twitter, “In unity with @SFSisters, we will not participate in Pride Night,” and L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath tweeted, “If they’re not invited, I’m not going. Celebrating Pride is about inclusion. Do better.”
The LA Times wrote “L.A. City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, posted on Twitter: ‘Los Angeles must be a place where everyone feels empowered to express themselves, and this move undermines that.’”
“Friday, the L.A. County Delegation (LACD), a group of 39 members of the California State Senate and State Assembly,” the Times noted, said in a statement “the Community Hero Award would celebrate the Sisters’ ‘countless hours of community service, ministry, and outreach to those on the edges, in addition to promoting human rights and respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. These are values that should be celebrated, not suppressed.’”