The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation honored the ACLU SoCal with the Community Hero Award at its 10th annual Pride Night — but not without a hitch!

Pictured from right to left: Christynne Wood and Hector Villagra, accompanied by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Gerald Garth, L.A. Pride Board President. Photo credit: Los Angeles Dodgers

The ACLU of Southern California believes in celebrating our authentic selves, championing the rights of the LGBTQ community, and speaking up and fighting back when our community is under attack.

This year, in our centennial year, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundastion invited us to participate in its 10th annual Pride Night and receive a Community Hero Award alongside the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and L.A. Pride organizers. Weeks before the game, the Dodgers rescinded its invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence after ultra-conservative groups called out the inclusion of the sisters. The Dodgers were in the wrong. 

Founded in 1979, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a longstanding, volunteer-led charity tending to marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community particularly people living with HIV/AIDS and unhoused youth. They are guided by the principle of creating “room in our world for each person to be who they are, as they are, free from shame or guilt, and alive in love and joy for their own self.” 

As extremist groups and legislators across the country attack the LGBTQ community, it’s crucial to support organizations that champion unity over division. In solidarity with the sisters, we decided to pull out of Pride Night.  

Thanks to the activism by the sisters and other LGBTQ groups, days later, the Dodgers apologized and reinvited the sisters to Pride Night. 

On Friday, June 16, ACLU SoCal Executive Director Hector Villagra and our former client and trans activist Christynne Wood stood on the field at Dodgers Stadium to accept the award. In 2021, Wood won a settlement in her case against Crunch Fitness El Cajon after the gym refused to allow her to use the women’s locker room and restroom, even though it is her right under California law.  

Our staff, interns, family, and friends attended the sold-out baseball game.  

The events leading up to this year's Pride Night demonstrated the ACLU SoCal's relentless defense of LGBTQ people in all arenas – including sports — and its commitment to its centennial pride motto: "we the people means all of us."