The Dodgers will host its 10th annual LGBTQ Pride Night when they play the San Francisco Giants on June 16, and it could set a record as sports’ largest event recognizing the queer community.
The Dodgers, however, have a complicated history with the LGBTQ community.
Last year, the Dodgers sold more than 18,000 Pride Night ticket packages, a record for ticket sales for an LGBTQ+ Pride Night at a sporting event in the U.S.
Dodger Stadium has a capacity of 56,000. That means approximately a third of fans watching the game in 2022 bought Pride tickets.
Dodgers officials hope that number is matched or beaten this year.
“The Dodgers have always championed diversity and inclusion as core values, and we’re honored to showcase our dedication to fostering an inclusive environment both on and off the field during our tenth annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night,” said Erik Braverman, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ senior vice president of marketing, communications, community relations, and broadcasting.
Glenn Burke, baseball’s first openly gay player, helped create high five
Dodgers’ complicated history
In the late 1970s, Glenn Burke, who identified as gay, was an outfielder with the Dodgers, but he wasn’t championed. Management made Burke’s life awful.
In 2000, two lesbian Dodgers’ fans were kicked out of Dodgers Stadium because they kissed each other. The couple filed a lawsuit, and as part of a settlement, the team publicly apologized and gave away 5,000 tickets to gay and lesbian fans.
One thing the team refused to do was host a Gay Pride night, the women said at the time.
That event didn’t happen until 13 years later.
For this year’s Pride Night, specialty drinks will be poured, and rainbow flags will fly around the stadium.
A special commemorative jersey will be given at the gate to everyone who purchased a Pride Night ticket, which range from $53 to $146.
David Archuletta will sing the National Anthem, and Dodgers part owners and tennis greats Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, who are minority owners of the Dodgers, will recognize local residents who have contributed to the LGBTQ+ community.
The night will conclude with the club’s second Friday Night Drone Show.
No gay players in MLB
King was asked by Q Voice News in 2019 about the lack of openly gay players in Major League Baseball.
“It does bother me,” King said in an interview. “It would help if a player who was young and popular came out. If one person came forward, it would be great.”
An active Major League Baseball player who is openly gay or bisexual has never happened in the league. Billy Bean, a former player with the Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, and San Diego Padres, came out in 1999 after retiring and is an executive in MLB’s front office. David Denson came out during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system in 2013, but he never played in the major leagues.
King said one reason gay players stay closeted is because “nobody feels safe to come out. It’s still an old boys club.”