The Major League Baseball baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting their 10 annual Pride Night next month, but some major names will not be in attendance. According to a new announcement, event honorees the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are out and anti-drag attitudes are in.
On May 4, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced their annual Pride night event taking place on June 16. The event was expected to also honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit organization that has used drag and religious imagery since 1979 to call out religious moralizing and satirizing issues of gender and sexual intolerance. But on May 17, the California baseball team took to social media releasing a press statement announcing that the Sisters were no longer a part of the event line up due to them being a “source of some controversy”.
The reasoning behind their decision was to not “distract from the great benefits” that Pride Night has offered. Which just seems like coded language for “conservatives complained and we caved into their demands”.
This comes after several high-profile conservatives, such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Catholic League president Bill Donohue, complained about the drag troupe’s inclusion. Rubio and Donohue penned letters to the Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred.
Donohue accused the MLB of celebrating an organization that mocks Catholics and stating in his letter that, “If a group of white boys in black face—a modern-day Al Jolson ensemble—were to be honored by an MLB team, there is little doubt that the event would be canceled and sanctions would be forthcoming.”
Whereas Rubio called out the Sisters on Twitter, stating that, “Drag queen performers should NOT be celebrated for their disgraceful imitation of Roman Catholic nuns.”
The Sisters, according to their website, promote “human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.” Unfortunately, with the L.A. Dodgers removing the Sisters from their lineup, they’re in direct opposition of what the Sisters stand for.
Starting their organization during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Sisters campy “dragtivism” has supported the LGBTQ+ community for decades. They created one of the first safer sex pamphlets called Play Fair to reduce stigma around gay sex and HIV/AIDs. In the ‘80s, the nonprofit hosted one of the world’s first fundraisers to support victims affected by complications with HIV/AIDs, many of which experience immense financial hardship. Throughout the years, their advocacy efforts have shifted focus. Currently they emphasize transgender and migrant rights.
The removal of the Sisters tacks another anti-drag incident onto the running list of anti-LGBTQ+ efforts orchestrated by the American right. In the past few months, more drag bans have popped throughout the United States, causing the LGBTQ+ community and high-profile allies to protest conservatives with telethons uplifting the drag community and musicians performing with drag artists on stage in states with prominent drag bans, in addition to protests across the country.