(National Review) Like most of the nation’s major sports leagues, Major League Baseball (MLB) has embraced a number of left-wing causes in recent years.
The league’s website now boasts a “social justice” section that promotes texts such as the 1619 Project and White Fragility — as well as authors such as Ibram X. Kendi and Angela Davis — and a number of players knelt for the national anthem during the George Floyd protests in summer 2020. In the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays partnered with the progressive gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety to tweet “facts about the impacts of gun violence” rather than the usual clips and game updates during their May 26 game. Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s election-integrity law, meanwhile, was the subject of bitter criticism from conservatives.
For all the controversy, these high-profile fights surrounding professional baseball’s flirtation with progressive cultural causes, thus far, have been largely symbolic. But one far less-noticed — and much more significant — aspect of the league’s leftward shift concerns its promotion, directly and indirectly, of gender transitions for minors.
Under the auspices of LGBT-themed “Pride Nights” — fundraisers and charity partnerships that began in the early 2000s and were embraced, over the course of two decades, by almost every team in the league — many of MLB’s most prominent franchises have begun to promote or fund groups that encourage or provide sex-change procedures and gender-transition hormone treatment for minors as young as 12. Other organizations promote “social transitions” — i.e., nonmedical changes in “gender expression,” including the adoption of new names, pronouns, and clothing — for children as young as three.
In May, I reported that the Detroit Tigers’ Pride Night, which took place during a June 1 game against the Minnesota Twins, was funneling money to groups that were actively promoting transgender identification — even medical transitions — for children. At the checkout page for tickets to the Pride Night game, the Tigers website offered “a chance to support a local Pride organization of your choice,” with a drop-down menu that included LGBT-focused clinics such as the Ruth Ellis Center and Corktown Health, both of which perform medical gender transitions on minors. On top of masculinizing and feminizing drugs, at least one — the Ruth Ellis Center — included irreversible “gender affirming surgery” in its suite of “transition care for transgender youth” options. Another charity promoted by the Tigers, the Trans Sistas of Color Project, was actively funding groups such as “Trans Minors Rights,” which “advocates for empowering transgender youth to make their own decisions regarding puberty blockers” — i.e., “without requiring the consent of a parent.” (The group’s tagline: “Unblock blockers.”)
But the Tigers Pride Night was only the tip of the iceberg. The MLB has a Pride Resource Guide that promotes numerous “social justice groups” that advocate youth gender transitions. And according to National Review’s analysis, of the 29 teams that held a “Pride Night” event this summer (Outsports reports that every team did except for the Texas Rangers), at least 20 have promoted or funded groups that advocate or are directly involved in child gender transitions. At least six of those teams promoted or funded organizations that lobby against restrictions on youth sex-change surgeries and for policies such as “gender-affirming” curricula for elementary-school children and “trans-inclusive” K–12 sports. Five other team Pride Nights promoted or funded groups that provide resources for, and often actively encourage, youth sex changes. Four promoted or funded groups that write referrals for or partner with clinics that perform medical gender transitions — either via hormone-altering drugs, sex-change surgeries, or both — on minors. And finally, five teams have promoted or funded clinics that do drug-induced or surgical youth gender transitions themselves.
National Review contacted all 20 teams listed in this piece, as well as the MLB organization, for comment but has yet to receive any statements at the time of this writing.
Five MLB team Pride Nights have partnered with organizations that perform medical gender transitions on minors. Those teams are:
The Detroit Tigers
The Tigers Pride Night, as discussed above, encouraged ticket buyers to donate to multiple clinics that performed medical gender transitions on minors. On top of the Ruth Ellis Center, Corktown Health, and the Trans Sistas of Color Project, the Tigers checkout page also listed PFLAG of Detroit as a suggested charity. As I reported at the time, “PFLAG of Detroit’s ‘Policy Statements’ page writes that ‘teaching there are only two genders may make youth of different identities, genders or orientations not feel included,’ and sponsors a ‘Public Library Project’ that ‘is dedicated to donating Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transgender-positive books to public libraries for a greater understanding of the real lives of our children.’”
The Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox Pride Night, held during the team’s June 28 game against the Oakland Athletics, “made a donation to Boston Proud in support of their programmatic efforts,” according to the New England Sports Network. Boston Proud, which organizes the city’s Pride March, is sponsored by and has held fundraisers for Fenway Health, an LGBT clinic affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the official hospital of the Red Sox. (Along with Fenway Health, the Red Sox are listed as another sponsor of Boston Proud.) The Red Sox made a $200,000 donation to Fenway Health as part of an LGBT “Spirit Day” campaign in 2018. (At the time, the vice president of the MLB, Billy Bean, stated that he was “so proud” of the Red Sox’s “incredibly generous donation to Fenway Health,” which “will impact many people in need who receive life-saving treatment & care at this wonderful facility.”) Fenway Health’s services include a suite of hormonal drugs and puberty blockers for patients as young as twelve years old, as well as sex-change surgeries for adolescents. Fenway Health also works against restrictions on gender transitions for minors, arguing that “the true purpose of these bills is to advance the right-wing culture war against LGBTQIA+ people,” and distributes a “communications toolkit with talking points, social media graphics, and letters to the editor for anyone doing advocacy around transgender/gender diverse youth” in response to “the spate of anti-trans youth bills filed in states across the country in 2021.”
The Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers Pride Night, held during the team’s June 8 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, was put on in partnership with Aurora Health, which provides hormone therapy to minors. The Brewers also hosted a pregame drag-queen show, and the first pitch was thrown out by Dr. Sylvia Meltzer, who was billed as “a pioneer in providing transgender health care services.”
The Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays Pride Night, held during the team’s June 4 game against the Chicago White Sox, made a $20,000 donation to Metro Inclusive Health, a local medical clinic whose “trained providers work with the transgender community for needs such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), reproductive care, and specialist referrals,” including prescribing gender-transition hormones for minors. Metro Inclusive Health also offers youth programming, including a “Gender Talks” lecture series, which is open to children as young as 13. Notably, at least five Rays players opted not to wear the rainbow pride flag on their uniforms for the Pride Night game, citing their religious faith.
The Cleveland Guardians
The Cleveland Guardians Pride Night, held during the team’s June 25 game against the Red Sox, took place during the Guardians’ Pride Month programming, which the team put on “in partnership” with the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland. The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland runs a school, open to youth as young as 14, that provides medical services to students via an onsite MetroHealth clinic, which offers a “Kids Pride Gender Care Journey” package that includes puberty blockers and hormonal drugs for children and sex-change surgeries for adolescents. Last year, the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland announced a “new partnership with University Hospitals (UH) of Cleveland . . . which includes the services offered by Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, further enhanc[ing] the Center’s ability to facilitate access to healthcare, which is attuned to the needs of LGBTQ+ folks across the lifespan.” The partnership announcement included interviews with multiple University Hospital doctors who specialized in medical gender transitions for children, including one doctor who touted her interactions with “a lot of youth who present to me about their gender preference who have not yet told their parents or family members, and they can do that in a confidential way because as a psychologist I do not have to divulge that information to their legal guardians or parents.” She claimed to have seen “kids as young as three years old.”
Partnerships and Referrals
Four MLB team Pride Nights partnered with organizations that provide counseling and referrals for youth medical transitions, or partner with clinics that perform youth transitions. Those teams are:
The Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers Pride Night, held during the team’s June 3 game against the New York Mets, selected the Los Angeles LGBT Center as the beneficiary of half of the proceeds from the game’s 50/50 raffle. The Los Angeles LGBT Center leads the Trans Wellness Center, a transgender-specific clinic that provides “various supportive services for Transition Age Youth, ages 16-24,” as well as hormone-replacement therapy and “gender affirming surgery referrals.” The Trans Wellness Center was formed in partnership with the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, which runs a youth-focused “Center for Transyouth Health and Development” that offers medical gender transitions “for transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents [and] young adults.” The Los Angeles LGBT Center has also advocated laws “that would establish the rights of foster youth in California to access gender-affirming health care,” arguing that “young people should not have to wait years — or have to age out of the foster care system — to receive” medical gender transitions.
The Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates Pride Night, held during the team’s June 17 game against the San Francisco Giants, donated a portion of ticket proceeds to the Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA), a member-based LGBT business advocacy organization, “to support 3RBA and LGBTQ small businesses.” One of the “LGBTQ small businesses” listed as a 3RBA member — and promoted in 3RBA’s “Small Business Pride” directory — is the Central Outreach Wellness Center, a local LGBT medical clinic that provides “gender-affirming hormone therapy” to minors. Central Outreach Wellness Center’s clinical supervisor also sits on 3RBA’s board of directors, and the clinic is promoted as one of the “Online LGBT+ Resources” on the 3RBA website.
The San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres Pride Night, held during the team’s May 6 game against the Miami Marlins, donated a portion of ticket proceeds to San Diego Pride, which also hosted the event. San Diego Pride’s seven “Pillars of Justice” include “Gender Justice,” which it describes as a “movement” that “works to deconstruct all legal, structural, and cultural barriers to gender equity,” including “equality and liberation for transgender people.” The group donates tens of thousands of dollars to “trans-serving and trans-lead organizations,” specifying that one of its main objectives is to “empower trans youth,” and “in particular our trans youth with regards to participation in athletics and access to gender-affirming health care.” Previous recipients of grants from San Diego Pride include the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, which offers “a chest binder for non-binary youth who cannot otherwise get one, due to financial or other restraints” and “collaborat[es] with local health providers to provide trans-inclusive health care,” including hormone treatment for minors. Another grant recipient is the Colors+ Youth Center, which offers services marketed toward “transgender and gender expansive youth ages 11-20” — as well as “TransYou Play Groups for 12 and under,” and “Gender+ play groups” for ages ten and under — such as “Drag Queen Story Hour” and a “Drag Makeup Tutorial.” Colors+ programming is marketed toward children as young as three years old. The group’s Instagram has shared pictures of a drag queen applying drag makeup to a child.
The Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics Pride Night, held during the team’s June 17 game against the Kansas City Royals, donated $5 of every “special pride night” ticket purchased to the Oakland LGBTQ Center, which provideshormone-replacement therapy “to transgender individuals” and lists“referral services” as one of its offerings to “LGBTQ youth.” The one and only “referral” service cited on the page for the center’s in-house medical clinic, the Glenn Burke Wellness Center, is for “gender care.” The Wellness Center also offers on-site “hormone injection assistance.” The Oakland LGBTQ Center’s “community resources” page promotes clinics such as the San Francisco Community Health Center, which provideshormone-replacement therapy to “transgender youth.”
Resource Guides and Promotion
Five MLB team Pride Nights partnered with organizations that provide resources for, and often actively encourage, youth sex changes. Those teams are:
The Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds Pride Night, held during the team’s June 3 game against the Washington Nationals, was hosted by Cincinnati Pride, a group that promotes organizations such as Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Transgender Health Clinic on the “Health Resources” section of its website. The Transgender Health Clinic “offers[s] medical care,” including puberty blockers, “for transgender and gender-nonconforming youth from age 4 to their 25th birthday,” and has previously caused controversy in Ohio for medically transitioning a 17-year-old via hormone treatment over the objections of her parents. Representatives from the Transgender Health Clinic, including children who were transitioned at the clinic, have marched in the Cincinnati Pride Parade.
The Houston Astros
The Houston Astros Pride Night, held during the team’s June 21 game against the Mets, donated a portion of the proceeds from its charity raffle to the Montrose Center. The Montrose Center promotes “resources for trans & gender-diverse youth in Texas,” including “a low-cost clinic that provides gender-affirming healthcare,” with offerings such as a “Youth First Gender Identity Night” that discusses topics such as “coming out” and “transitioning” with children between the ages of 12 and 18. Another resource on the Montrose Center page is Q Chat, an online chat forum marketed to children between the ages of 13 and 19 that hosts discussions on topics such as “Gender Affirmation Surgeries,” hormone-replacement therapy, “Drag Culture 101,” and “Having Multiple Genders,” and offers users information on “where you can find resources” related to transitioning. Q Chat conversations take place between children and adult LGBT activists “who work at LGBTQ+ centers around the United States,” and the forum also contains a “quick escape” button that immediately takes users to the Google home page. Earlier this year, congressional Republicans wrote a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slamming the agency for promoting Q Chat on the “LGBT Youth Health Resources” page of its website.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks Pride Night, held during the team’s June 25 game against the Tigers, lists the organization One-n-ten as one of its “community partners.” (The Diamondbacks Foundation has also donated to One-n-ten in the past.) One-n-ten describes its mission as “providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices” to “LGBTQ youth” as young as eleven years old. One of those services is the “TGNC (Trans and Gender Non-Conforming) Wellness program,” which hosts monthly discussions — with no listed age requirement — “on gender affirming health topics such as Pronouns Support, Hormones 101, Gender Affirming Surgeries 101, Gender Dysphoria Tips/Tools, How to Bind Safely, How to Tuck Safely, How to Select a LGBTQ Affirming Provider/Counselor, [and] Supporting a Healthy Transition.” Another program, “SexFYI,” hosts discussions for “LGBTQ youth” as young as 14 “that is inclusive of their body, gender identity and sexual orientation, including fluidity therein,” and covers — among other things — topics such as “sexting.”
The Philadelphia Phillies
This year’s Philadelphia Phillies Pride Night, held during the team’s June 28 game against the Atlanta Braves, did not list a partner on its website. But last year’s Phillies Pride Night donated a portion of the proceeds from its charity raffle to the Attic Youth Center, an LGBT youth group that serves children as young as 14 and promotes its work with transgender children in numerous videos on its website. Attic, which fired its executive director in response to allegations of sexual assault of a minor on its premises in 2019, offers “counseling” services to “LGBTQ youth” on topics such as “gender questions,” and its website promotesmultiple clinics that perform medical gender transitions for minors. One of those clinics, the Mazzoni Center, provides “Gender Affirming Services, including hormone therapy” for youth as young as 14. (The Mazzoni Center also partnered with Attic for a recent press conference.) Another clinic promoted by Attic is the FIGHT Center’s Y-HEP Adolescent and Young Adult Health Center, which provides “gender-affirming hormone therapy” to patients as young as 13.
Attic’s former board president, Jasper Liem, previously worked at the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Center. Liem, who also served as Attic’s interim executive director after the termination of its former director, “was part of the team that developed the gender-affirming healthcare program at Y-HEP and throughout FIGHT’s clinics,” according to Philadelphia Gay News. “His work at FIGHT was the basis of his collaborative history with The Attic.”
The Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies Pride Night, held during the team’s June 3 game against the Braves, donated a portion of ticket sales to the Center on Colfax and One Colorado. The Center on Colfax offers a “youth” section in its resource directory that includes “Denver Health LGBTQ Services,” which has a pediatric wing that provides “gender affirming care to transgender and nonbinary youth, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy.” (Its services are open to “LGBTQ+ patients of all ages.”) One Colorado advocates and lobbies for legal gender transitions for minors, opposes religious exemptions for sexual-orientation and gender-identity protections, and supports transgender students’ access to school sports and bathrooms.
Lobbying and Advocacy
Six MLB team Pride Nights partnered with organizations that advocate, promote, or lobby for youth gender transitions in public policy. Those teams were:
The Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs Pride Night, held during the team’s June 29 game against the Reds, was hosted by Equality Illinois, a group that has been the recipient of donations from Cubs Charities in the past. Equality Illinois lobbies against transgender bathroom bills in public schools and condemns bans on transition surgery for minors. It also lobbied for — and eventually helped pass — a 2021 Illinois law that mandated that all sex education in public schools include instruction on “gender identity and expression.” The law, titled the “Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act,” implemented the standard that students should be able to “define . . . gender identity” by the end of second grade, and “describe . . . the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender,” “distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity,” and “explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum” by the end of fifth grade. Cubs Charities is also a regular donor to — and once held a “Pride Day” fundraiser for — Howard Brown Health, a health clinic “rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation” that provides gender-transition drugs to patients over the age of 18 and promotes other clinics that provide those hormones to children under the age of 16.
The Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox Pride Night, held during the team’s June 23 game against the Baltimore Orioles, donated “a portion of proceeds from tickets” to You Can Play, an organization that “works to ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans,” and lobbies for biological males competing in women’s and girls’ sports, including in K–12 schools. You Can Play also publicly works against legislative efforts to ban biological males from girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.
The Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels Pride Night, held during the team’s June 28 game against the White Sox, pledged that “proceeds from each ticket purchase will benefit OC Pride,” Orange County’s “non-profit LGBTQ+ Pride Festival and parade.” The OC Pride parade has actively promoted young children such as the “gender-creative” CJ Duron, who first attended the march as a ten-year-old and was subsequently made the “Grand Marshal of Orange County Pride” the next year.
The Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins Pride Night, held during the team’s July 15 gameagainst the White Sox, donated “a portion of each ticket purchased . . . to support Twin Cities Pride.” The Twin Cities Pride community-event calendar includes multiple drag performances explicitly marketed toward youth, including a “drag queen story hour” at a “family event” for “younger audiences and all ages,” and “drag performers” at a “youth pride” event “for LGBTQ2IA+ school-aged people.” One of the “major event sponsors” for the latter event was myHealth for Teens & Young Adults, a youth clinic that offers “gender-affirming care” through a partner clinic that provides hormone treatment to “adolescent patients 14 and over . . . in a way that has as few ‘hoops to jump through’ as possible.” A month before the Twins Pride Night event, “an open house celebrating 50 years of myHealth” was advertised on the Twin Cities Pride calendar.
The St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals Pride Night, held during the team’s June 10 game against the Reds, donated “a portion of each ticket sold” to PFLAG St. Louis. PFLAG St. Louis’s website promotes multiple resources oriented toward gender-dysphoric youth, including a website that aims to help teens “experiment with your gender expression” and a “Trans Teen Online Talk Group,” a chat room for “trans and gender expansive youth 19 and younger,” moderated by “transgender or nonbinary” adults seeking to provide “direct support and information regarding sexuality and gender identity.” Both websites have built-in “escape” or “quick exit” buttons that immediately take users to the Google home page, which appear to be designed to allow children to conceal the content from parents or family members. PFLAG also argues that it is “often untrue” that adolescents “are too young to really know what they want or to make such important decisions” when it comes to “medical interventions” for young people with gender dysphoria.
The Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals Pride Night, held during the team’s June 14 game against the Braves, donated “$5 of every ticket sold” to Team DC, a local group that “works within the broader community to dispel discrimination against LGBTQ people participating in sports.” Team DC offers a scholarship to young LGBT athletes, including a number of transgender youth, who compete in high-school sports. Rachel Levine, the pediatrician and assistant secretary for health who currently serves as the first Senate-confirmed transgender government official — and has been an outspoken opponent of restrictions on medical gender transitions for minors — also made a guest appearance at the Nationals Pride Night: