The Los Angeles Dodgers issued an apology to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Sisters are back on the lineup for the MLB team’s Pride Night. But the Sisters and the rest of the LGBTQ+ community deserve allyship that doesn’t cave in to conservative pressure.
On Monday, The California baseball team posted an apology on social media for removing drag nun troupe and nonprofit the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from the roster of honorees for the 10th annual Pride Night. The Dodgers issued an apology to the Sisters in a statement on social media and asked to have the drag nuns back on their Pride Night lineup.
The MLB team stated, “After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities honest conversations with 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 Sisters were originally removed from the lineup on May 17 due to right-wing conservative backlash calling out the drag nun group’s inclusion within the Dodgers’ Pride Night. High-profile conservatives like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Catholic League president Bill Donohue penned letters to the Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred expressing their disdain for the addition of the Sisters to the event. Rubio also tweeted out that “Drag queen performers should NOT be celebrated for their disgraceful imitation of Roman Catholic nuns.”
The removal of the Sisters by the Dodgers received backlash from social media, as well as from sponsors of the event, like the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In a statement, the L.A. LGBT Center initially withdrew their sponsorship from the event. Since the Sisters return to the Pride Night line up, the L.A. LGBT Center has returned as sponsors for the Dodgers’ event.
“Today’s decision by the Dodgers to publicly apologize to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and roll back their exclusion from next month’s Pride Night is a step in the right direction, and we support the Sisters’ vote to accept their much-deserved Community Hero Award,” said Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, in a statement.
The Dodgers’ decision to reinstate the Sisters brings into question how organizations, such as businesses, nonprofits, and even sporting leagues, should handle their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has impacted the way organizations engage with the LGBTQ+ community. Disney, whose amusement park is located in Florida, is faced with conservative backlash directed towards their films, such as the animated adventure Strange World, and wrestling with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law. Organizations like Disney and the Dodgers have a choice to stand strong in their support of the LGBTQ+ community or cave in from conservative pressure, like the Dodgers initially did.
The repercussions of wavering support sends a message that supporting the LGBTQ+ community is conditional, and the condition is if it’s good for business, then it can be supported. Unfortunately, that also feeds into the fair weather support that the LGBTQ+ community receives from corporations seeking queer dollars, but not actually supporting the queer community beyond shallow rainbow branding.
Still, the Dodgers’ action shines a light on what’s to come with the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and sentiment sweeping the nation. What can be hoped for is unwavering support from allies in the face of this opposition.
“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 Dodgers statement concluded.