Several hundred people gathered outside of Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Friday evening to protest the team’s annual Pride Night celebrating the city’s LGBTQ community.
Protesters say they object to the honors being given to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an activist and charity group whose members dress as parodies of Catholic nuns. The group, founded in 1979 in San Francisco, deploys satirical religious imagery in order to “use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit,” per their mission statement.
The group received the Community Hero Award for their work just before the start of the game. The Sisters have long provided resources for vulnerable people within the LGBTQ community, including AIDS education, safe sex resources and help for people in need, particularly those living with HIV.
The protest was organized by Catholics for Catholics, a conservative, Republican-aligned religious nonprofit that appears to have been founded in 2022. Critics of the event claim the Sisters are “anti-Catholic,” though journalists on the scene report that many protest attendees appear to simply oppose LGBTQ rights generally. According to LA Magazine, members of the extremist right wing Proud Boys appear to have shown up. Also on hand, former LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and right wing activist Jack Posobiec, who is well documented to hold White Supremacist views.
The Sisters deny that they are anti-Catholic. “The idea of being a fake nun is also a little problematic, mostly because we do take vows of service to the LGBTQ community for nonprofit work and it is the kind of vow that you take for the rest of your life, so it is very similar to the kind of care work a nun would do,” said Sister Electra-Complex, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, in an interview with ABC7 News.
Video of the demonstration can be seen here, via CBS. You can also see below, courtesy of LA Times reporter Andrew J. Campa.
Parking lot is filling up for the Catholics for Catholics protest outside Dodger Stadium regarding the Sisters of Indulgence receiving a Community Heroes Award. #DodgersProtest pic.twitter.com/HKs0ChYT3F
— Andrew J. Campa (@campadrenews) June 16, 2023
The protest follows a month of controversy, much of it self-inflicted on the part of the Dodgers, over the event. When the plans for this year’s Pride Night were announced in May, there was very quickly an online backlash centered on the Sisters and largely organized by out-of-state politicians and groups. The Dodgers, in a move described by numerous critics as “cowardly,” folded in response to that outrage campaign and disinvited the Sisters from the event.
That in turn provoked a local backlash as celebrities, politicians and members of the larger LGBTQ community condemned the team’s decision. After several other participating groups pulled out of Pride Night in protest, on May 22 the team re-invited Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
The “Pride Night” event started at 5:30 p.m. PST in the stadium’s center Field Plaza. On July 30, the Dodgers will host a “Christian Faith and Family Day.”