If you are on the West Coast, maybe you have seen the local order of nuns in drag, towering above a crowd, donning white Kabuki makeup, colorful habits and full beards. They are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. These Sisters are known for raising money in support of AIDS programs and also performing political street theater like the exorcism of homophobia, classism and racism on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. As their website proclaims, they “use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
The L.A. Dodgers, to celebrate Pride Day at the ball park, decided to honor the Sisters and acknowledge their contributions to their community. As you can imagine, there were considerable protestations from Catholics and Evangelicals, and the ball team capitulated, retracting the award they planned to extend to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
It looked like Pride Night at the park was going to be cancelled when all other groups invited to attend refused to participate without the Sisters being honored. Under the pressure from the withdrawal of all the other groups, the community outrage from the LGBTQ+ and the communities that support them was too much to bear and the Dodgers apologized and re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Brian Burch, president of the Catholic advocacy organization CatholicVote, expressed outrage shortly before the Dodgers did their about-face. “No other religion would be treated this way — and if the Dodgers truly care about fighting bigotry and promoting inclusivity, they will retract their invite to this disgusting, offensive and dangerous hate group.” No, Brian. The hate comes from you. Here is a wonderful quote from their website, showing that they are the farthest thing from a hate group:
“Our goal is to embrace our gay and diverse selves and each other as we are today, as we were born and as we are meant to be. Our goal is to share kindness, love and laughter with those we have met, those we meet today and those we will meet tomorrow as a source of personal empowerment and pride. If we can do this while raising money for charity and being our natural fabulous selves, then there is room for YOU to be as fabulous as you are and as you were meant to be … We are a family, committed to social activism, social service and spiritual development. The Order strives to strengthen its community through drag activism, by raising much-needed funds for community charities, and by bringing about a better understanding of gay spirituality.”
It’s nice to see a small victory for our heroes. It goes to show if you stand up against hate, fear and small mindedness, you can change hearts and minds.