Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence won't be at Dodgers' Pride Night. Drag nuns are booked

The L.A. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence won’t be attending Dodgers Pride Night this year. Not in an official capacity anyway.

It’s not a reaction to the events of last year, when the team’s decision to honor the satirical performance and activist organization made up of queer nuns in drag who are considered blasphemous by some Christians with its Community Hero Award erupted into a national controversy, leading to a massive protest outside of Dodger Stadium and causing concern for the Sisters’ safety.

But it is indirectly related to all of that.

The Sisters simply don’t have time to attend Friday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals. They are completely booked for all of Pride Month this year, something they credit to all the publicity they received a year ago during what founding member Sister Unity refers to as “the Dodgers kerfuffle.”

“A lot of new groups have come to ask us to appear at their events,” she told The Times in a recent Zoom interview that also included Sister Dominia, the president of the L.A. Sisters’ board of directors, and Sister June Cleavage, the board’s vice president. “It’s just been a whole other layer added on to our usual busy Pride season.”

“Much like a lighthouse, we’re a beacon for weirdos,” Sister June added. “People who get it come to us. And all this situation has done has made that light so much brighter. We’ve reached communities that are having their very first Prides and they want us there to support them. Because they know … they now have Sisters to lean back on.”

Last spring, the Dodgers caused an uproar among religious and other groups when they announced that the L.A. Sisters would be honored as part of the team’s Pride Night festivities — so much so that the Dodgers reversed that decision in mid-May.

But days later, after a marathon meeting that included members of the Sisters’ L.A. leadership, top Dodgers brass, California elected officials and local LGBTQ+ organizations, the team issued a statement offering “our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families” and re-inviting the Sisters to receive their award on Pride Night.

In the same statement, the Dodgers wrote: “In the days ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family.”

Sister Unity and Sister Dominia told The Times that their group has not heard from the Dodgers since the events of last summer. Still, they praised the team for its ongoing efforts to embrace the LGBTQ+ community.

“Pride Night this year is continuing, they’re advertising, the presence in our community seems robust, our community seems engaged,” Sister Unity said. “So we don’t really need to be part of that, like, that doesn’t matter so much to us. What matters is that the Dodgers and the L.A. LGBT community are so together … because that’s what this is really about, that’s why there are gay pride parades at all.

“It’s to shore up people who have been pushed down so that they can participate and their gifts can be shared and appreciated as part of the entire community. This is always about making a diverse, colorful and multi-voiced broad community. That’s what L.A. always has been and really always should be.”

The Dodgers declined to comment for this article.

All three sisters agree that the events of last year ended up being a blessing in disguise. While the negative reactions toward the group seem to have receded back to the pre-kerfuffle levels, they said, support remains at an all-time high.

“Our attackers afforded us for free $3 to $5 million worth of publicity. Gratis!” Sister Unity said. “We could not have paid for what they ended up providing us with just by being in the news cycle.”

The Sisters have received a number of awards in the past year, including two this month from the Highways performance space in Santa Monica and the LGBTQ+ Lawyers Assn. of Los Angeles. Last week, they spoke at a ceremony at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown L.A. The Sisters were also at last year’s Hall of Administration Pride event, which marked the first time a Pride flag flew over an L.A. County building (the flag will fly daily at county offices in June).

The sisters also said that financial contributions to the group — which it divides and distributes to a variety of charities — also increased dramatically following the events of last June.

“I think what it did was it made people more aware that we exist,” Sister Dominia said. “And once people started to realize all the hate we were getting, you know the death threats and everything that came in, the community stood up for us. … Because certain things were said in every single article that were just flat out wrong — that we’re anti-Christian, that we’re a hate group, we’re this and that. It was all the same and the people that know us are like, ‘No, that’s not who the Sisters are.’”

Sister Unity added: “There’s a level of inclusion now across the board. I observed that this was a cultural revolution in a small sense in America, where the quote-unquote weirdos were all of a sudden not put to the side so that the assimilated-looking people and the suits and ties could speak for us. We were given the microphone. We were put at the spear point of the movement and allowed to represent what is queer, which was different and wonderful.”

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