Home US LGBTQ+ groups left FURIOUS when Texas Rangers still refuse to join rest of MLB in hosting Pride Night: ‘It’s a shame’

LGBTQ+ groups left FURIOUS when Texas Rangers still refuse to join rest of MLB in hosting Pride Night: ‘It’s a shame’

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All but one of Major League Baseball's 30 teams will host Pride Nights this season.

The Texas Rangers have sparked anger among LGBTQ+ groups by again refusing to host a Pride Night during the Major League Baseball season.

Texas is alone among 30 MLB teams, but they responded to activists’ fury by insisting they welcome all baseball fans..

However, in September 2003, two years after the Chicago Cubs hosted what is considered the first Pride game, the Rangers invited local LGBTQ+ groups to a game as part of a fundraising event.

Some Rangers fans expressed their opposition and there were even some protests outside the stadium before the game.

DeeJay Johannessen, executive director of the HELP Center, an LGBTQ+ organization based in Tarrant County, where the Rangers play, believes it’s a “shame” for the area that Texas doesn’t have a Pride Night.

All but one of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams will host Pride Nights this season.

The Texas Rangers are the exception, to the frustration of some LGBTQ+ activists

The Texas Rangers are the exception, to the frustration of some LGBTQ+ activists

‘I would love to meet with Mr. (Rangers majority owner Ray C.) Davis and talk about why it’s important. But I don’t think that’s on their priority list right now,” he said.

“I think the issue here isn’t whether they’re losing every game or whether they’re World Series champions… it’s a question of whether or not having a Pride Night is something the Rangers owners support.”

“There may be deeply held beliefs about why they don’t want to do that,” Johannessen added. ‘And we are very respectful of that, but we also have to defend our community. Because it’s kind of a shame for the city of Arlington that their team is the only one that doesn’t have a Pride Night.’

The team has been consistent in its response when asked: “Our long-standing commitment remains the same: making everyone feel welcome and included in Rangers baseball,” the team says.

“We deliver on that promise across our many programs to have a positive impact across our community.”

A Pride-themed flag is displayed on Pride Night before the Blue Jays vs. The Guardians.

A Pride-themed flag is displayed on Pride Night before the Blue Jays vs. The Guardians.

Texas has been dominated by Republicans for a generation, and state lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott last year joined the push by many conservative states to limit LBGTQ+ rights.

The Legislature passed new laws expanding the definitions of prohibited sexual content in public performances and school books. Activists fear such measures will be used to target drag shows and ban LGBTQ+ literature in libraries and classrooms.

Texas is one of at least 25 states with laws that restrict or prohibit gender-affirming health care for transgender minors. And Texas public universities have been ordered to dismantle diversity, equity and inclusion offices and training.

Abbott also signed into law the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ which prohibits transgender college athletes from competing on teams that match their gender identity. Texas already had a similar law for high schools.

Amid that conservative political landscape, there is less external resistance in their home market to the Rangers not having a Pride Night.

Davis has donated at least $560,000 to the Texans for Greg Abbott since 2013.

The Astros hosted their first Pride Night in 2021. Houston, the state’s most populous city with about 2.3 million residents in a metropolitan area of ​​about 6.7 million, is one of the Democrats’ largest strongholds in Texas. Another is Dallas, not far from the Rangers stadium.

Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis has been criticized for the team's stance on Pride Night

Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis has been criticized for the team’s stance on Pride Night

The Rangers were sponsors of the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series in 2022 when the event took place in Dallas and Waxahachie.

The team is working on initiatives with local groups, including the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association, which promotes quality amateur softball at all levels of play with special emphasis on participation by members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Pegasus has been invited by MLB and the Rangers to participate in a training program for inclusion on July 14 as part of MLB’s All-Star Legacy Program initiatives. The Rangers will host the All-Star Game on July 16.

The Rangers have worked in the past at the Resource Center, which provides programs and assistance to LGBTQ+ communities and anyone affected in North Dallas by HIV/AIDS through advocacy, health and education. Team employees volunteer and support Resource Center events.

“As someone who grew up watching the Rangers, as someone who has attended games since the 1970s, some of my best and most important memories are going to games at the old Arlington Stadium with my late grandfather and listening to the games. on the radio in their backyard,” said Rafael McDonnell of the Resource Center.

“It pains me that this is still an issue (after) all these years.”

1719322152 599 LGBTQ groups left FURIOUS when Texas Rangers still refuse to

Pride Nights, which take place primarily during Pride Month, aim to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ culture

Painful enough, said McDonnell, that she considered not attending the parade with her boyfriend when the Rangers celebrated their first World Series championship last fall.

“I’ve long thought it might be someone very high in the organization who is opposed to this for some reason that’s not clearly articulated,” McDonnell added. ‘To say the Rangers aren’t doing anything for the community, well, they have. But the hill they have chosen to stand on is not Pride Night.

Several years ago, MLB diversity officer Billy Bean, who came out as gay after a six-year playing career, said he believed a Pride Night would eventually be held at Globe Life Field, the house with a roof Rangers retractable stadium that will host next month’s All-Star Game. Stars game. MLB had no comment when asked last week about the status of Rangers Pride Night.

The team developed a Community Impact and Inclusion Council to foster conversations, ideas and programs to support employees internally and the community externally. Rangers employees participate in anti-bullying programs and educational programs offered by MLB.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation focuses on anti-bullying messaging at the club’s youth academy and staff works with outside agencies to ensure a welcoming environment for all athletes.

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