The Los Angeles Dodgers have reversed course and reinvited a group known for their queer and drag membership to their Pride Night event after facing backlash for their last-minute exclusion.
The team announced the move Monday, saying the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had agreed to appear at the June 16 event at Dodger Stadium during a game against San Francisco.
«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 family,» the team said.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, established in San Francisco in 1979, were expected to accept the evening’s Community Hero Award.
In a statement on its home page, the organization describes its mission: «We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency, and guilt that fetter the human spirit.»
On May 17, after Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, criticized the group’s inclusion, the Dodgers rescinded their invitation. Rubio criticized the inclusion in a letter to Major League Baseball.
He said the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence mock Catholicism and encourage «perversion» of the principles of Jesus.
The team expressly disagreed, but argued that the group’s presence would be polarizing. The move came as aggressive right-wing protesters have targeted events known as «drag queen history hour» for threats and protests, and as Republican-dominated legislatures in several states have passed bills against transgender people
The team may not have anticipated the answer.
The next day, LA Pride, which produces the city’s namesake annual parade and festivities celebrating LGBTQ life and culture, pulled out of Pride Night.
The Dodgers said the episode provides an opportunity «to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the bonds that unite, and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family.»
LA Pride did not immediately respond to a request for comment and had not yet posted any official reaction on its social media platforms.
Los Angeles LGBT Center executive director Joe Hollendoner said in a statement Monday that the team’s mea culpa was «a step in the right direction.»
«Last week’s debacle underscores the dangerous impact of the political tactics of those seeking to fan the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack,» he said. «We must stick together.»