The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a well-known San Francisco order of queer and trans “nuns” that has existed since the 1970s, are once again welcome at the team’s annual Pride Night.
Last week, the baseball team rescinded the group’s invitation after a Republican senator from Florida wrote a letter accusing the sisters, a group which came to prominence during the Aids crisis, of being anti-Christian activists. The group, which does charitable and protest work in addition to its street drag show performances, was set to receive an award during a ceremony before a 16 June game against the San Francisco Giants.
Some conservative Roman Catholics and politicians, including Florida’s Republican senator, Marco Rubio, had accused the group of mocking nuns and the Christian faith. Rubio’s press office had celebrated the Dodgers’ exclusion of the nuns last week with an email blast titled, “Rubio Knocks Out Wokeism from the LA Dodgers”.
On Monday, in the face of outrage from LGBGTQ+ groups across the country, the baseball team reversed course: “We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16,” a team statement said. “We are pleased to share that they have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades.”
After “much thoughtful feedback”, the team also apologized to the group and the LGBTQ+ community, friends and families.
In their new statement, the Dodgers said they will continue working with “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.”
Among the groups who had said they were dropping out of the Dodgers’ 10th annual Pride Night in solidarity with the Sisters was LA Pride, the nonprofit that organizes one of the largest pride celebrations in the country.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence formed in San Francisco, and was among the first to raise money to help care for people with Aids, it said in a statement. Today, the group has loosely organized chapters around the world and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for underserved grassroots organizations.
The group denied it was anti-Catholic. On its website, the group said it uses “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit”.
A longtime Los Angeles-area Catholic nun and Dodgers fan, Sister Jo’Ann De Quattro, also wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times in support of the queer group, saying that Catholic Vote, one of the conservative political groups pushing for the sisters’ exclusion from the Dodgers event, “does not speak for me or many of my sisters.” De Quattro wrote that the Sisters “are performing what we have traditionally called the corporal works of mercy”.
On Saturday, the mayor of Anaheim, Ashleigh Aitken, tweeted an invitation for the Sisters to join her for the Los Angeles Angels’ Pride Night on 7 June.
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