A powerful California teachers' union was part of a successful pressure campaign to get the Los Angeles Dodgers to re-invite a group of drag queen nuns to the team's annual Pride Night. The union suggested that LGBT students' lives were at stake.
"At a time when LGBTQ+ rights are under attack across the country with more than 400 pieces of legislation filed in states, at a time when 45 percent of LGBTQ+ youth report seriously considering committing suicide each year, we should be leading with love and inclusion in California rather than sowing division," the California Teachers Association president said in a statement on Monday, referring to a spate of "red state" legislation restricting sex-change treatment for minors and a 2022 Trevor Project survey. "Our students are watching what happens on and off the field."
The union had resolved to speak out after the Dodgers rescinded an offer to honor the drag group, known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, for its advocacy before a June 16 home game against the San Francisco Giants. The resolution, which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, went even further than the union's public statement, likening the controversy over the baseball game ceremony to the AIDS epidemic.
"SILENCE = DEATH has long been a refrain of the LGBTQIA+ community, and though it refers to refusal to acknowledge the AIDS crisis, silence in the face of the national assault upon these marginalized youths will lead to more deaths," the resolution read.
Between 1981 and 1990, more than 100,000 people died of AIDS in the United States, the overwhelming majority of whom were gay men. There is no evidence that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or sex-changes treatments for minors save lives.
The California Teachers Association's over-the-top advocacy for the Sisters highlighted the union's powerful role in California's progressive politics. It has consistently ranked among the biggest-spending lobbyists in the state legislature and has supported California's growing embrace of transgenderism in schools.
Hours after the union weighed in, joining LA Pride and others, the Dodgers caved and agreed to recognize the Sisters as originally planned. The team on Monday offered its "sincerest apologies" to the drag group and its allies and pledged to "continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves." The Sisters confirmed it had accepted the Dodgers' renewed invitation.
"Sister Roma" thanked the California Teachers Association in a tweet on Tuesday.
"THIS. IS. HUGE. Thank you ... also for affirming your commitment to our queer and trans youth. Understanding and acceptance starts with education and education starts with Teachers."
Among those who had objected to the Sisters' invitation were Bill Donahue, the president of the Catholic League, and Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fl.), who last week sent a public letter to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred questioning whether the league is "inclusive and welcoming" of Christians.
"Do you believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers are being ‘inclusive and welcoming to everyone’ by giving an award to a group of gay and transgender drag performers that intentionally mocks and degrades Christians—and not only Christians, but nuns, who devote their lives to serving others?" Rubio asked.
Founded in 1979 in the streets of San Francisco, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have often stirred controversy by satirizing Catholic beliefs in the name of progressive activism. The group has publicly "exorcised" many prominent conservatives, including Pope John II in 1987 and then-President Donald Trump in 2017. Other Sisters events over the years have included a mock Mass with tequila, a Good Friday fetish fashion show, and a "Midnight Confessional Contest" at a bar with prizes for the "hottest confessions," according to the Catholic League.
The Sisters are best known for holding a "Hunky Jesus" contest every Easter Sunday in San Francisco, featuring sexual parodies of the crucifixion.