For decades, the St. Louis Cardinals have hosted an event called “Christian Day.”
Former all-star slugger Lance Berkman previously attended the event when he was a member of the Cardinals.
But now, a faction of people want Berkman banned from the event because of his political views.
Berkman spoke out against the transgender bathroom law in 2015, and drew the ire of the LGBTQ community.
From Yahoo! Sports:
Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have received criticism, including from LGBTQ advocates, for inviting former slugger Lance Berkman to “Christian Day” at Busch Stadium, scheduled for July 30. In September 2015, Berkman foolishly advocated against public accommodations for transgender people to use public bathrooms. In an ad in which he appeared, Berkman referred to transgender people as “troubled men.” He fearmongered, suggesting that transgender people would violate women’s privacy and lead to violence. However, there have been no documented cases of transgender people attacking people in public restrooms, contrary to what some pundits would have you believe.Berkman spoke to Craig the next month and said, “To me, tolerance is virtue that’s killing this country.” So, Berkman’s track record on LGBTQ issues isn’t exactly sterling. It was no surprise, then, that Pride Center of St. Louis issued a public statement, via OutSports, which read:“Pride St. Louis is disappointed by the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide a public platform for Berkman, an individual whose words and actions towards the LGBTQ+ are divisive and demeaning. We know that the Cardinals can do better, and we want to extend an offer to help them by co-organizing their official LGBT Pride Night at Busch Stadium. Let’s work together to promote love, diversity, and inclusion.”
The Cardinals issued a statement of their own, defending their choice to invite Berkman. “The Cardinals have hosted a Christian Day at the ballpark for nearly three decades. Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith.”
The Cardinals said they will also host a Pride Night “later this season.” Vice president Ron Watermon said he hopes the night will be scheduled by late August.
They have every right to continue to invite Berkman, but fans also have every right to speak with their wallets by not showing up at the ballpark and buying merchandise. Is it worth it? I guess we’ll find out.
Despite dealing with a fraught topic, the article is quick to mention no occurrences of transgender incidents, but fails to cite the “large swaths” of bathroom hate crimes that facilitated the need for the law.
To conservatives, the bathroom law was a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
Berkman’s views may not align with the left’s talking points, but they don’t rise to the level of bigotry worthy of a boycott or public shaming.
Also, Berkman’s “troubled men” phraseology isn’t unfounded in sociological studies. The suicide rate amongst transgender or gender non-conforming people is 41%, compared to the general rate of 4.6%.
Chalking up that huge discrepancy to societal unacceptance is facile and summarily ignores the mental health component.
Transgender online commentator Blair White–who transitioned from a man to a woman–detailed her own lingering regret over transitioning; it’s irreversible, and doesn’t cause all problems to melt away.
The transgender issue is complex. Skewering Berkman for his opinions while scientists and the LGBTQ community itself can’t even agree on the topic seems unreasonable.