Current Events LGBTQ

🏳️‍🌈 Gayskool: Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves

Let’s jump into a recent controversy to kick off Gayskool ’23.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been in the news because they were invited, disinvited, and re-invited to the L.A. Dodgers Pride Night planned for June 16. (As Daily Dave readers know, the Dodgers were one of the first baseball teams to have a Pride event, although it wasn’t official.)

The New York Times has the story here: Groups Return to Pride Night After Dodgers Reverse Course. If you can’t get past the paid firewall, here’s what the Dodgers said:

After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within 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.

I’ve seen the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence somewhere. They roller-skated past the Complementary Spouse and me on roller skates — a blur of nuns’ habits, white face paint, and glitter. I can’t remember where this happened, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it was the Russian River Valley near San Francisco. Britt believes it was Provincetown. It may have been the Castro. One thing is certain, though: It wasn’t Branson, Mo.

The Sisters describe themselves as a “leading edge Order of queer and trans nuns” who “believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty.” According to their website:

We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

So, who went apoplectic when the Dodgers asked the Sisters to join the festivities at Dodgers Stadium? Well, let’s ask Homer:

Homer says "you see, there are some crybabies out there, religious types mostly, who might be offended."

The Dodgers’ knee-jerk reaction was to disinvite the Sisters, and the response from the LGBTQ community was swift and forceful. Many groups, including LA Pride and the ACLU, backed out of the event. Forced to decide between caving to bigots or standing by their commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Dodgers decided to do the right thing.

Here is the Sisters’ statement:

A full apology and explanation was given to us by the Dodgers staff which we accept. We believe the apology is sincere because the Dodgers have worked for 10 years with our community and as well they have asked us to continue an ongoing relationship with them. In the future, if similar pressures from outside our community arise, our two organizations will consult and assist each other in responding, alongside our colleagues at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and others from the LGBTOIA2S community, now more closely tied with the LA Dodgers than ever before.

Someone asked me yesterday what I thought about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I said I thought of them as a protest group: They fight against oppression by assuming their oppressors’ language, garb, and traditions. Creativity is one of the most powerful tools LGBTQ people have to fight bigotry.

As for the people who feel offended? Let me be direct: These bigots have used their twisted interpretation of religion to ostracize, demonize, and dehumanize LGBTQ people for millennia. They have done serious harm — it’s not hyperbole to say their actions have a body count. How has a bunch of men wearing makeup and nuns’ habits affected their lives in any real way? Their feelings are hurt? World’s tiniest violin. They’re not victims.

I asked Siri to summarize that last paragraph. Her response: “Duck them.”

Sadly, I think we’ll see many more stories like this in the news. Organizations committed to LGBTQ equality and inclusion are under attack from increasingly rabid and empowered extremists.1

We’ll soon learn which organizations have been paying us lip service and which ones will live up to their word. 

1 Cf. Target and Bud Light