The San Francisco Giants make history by revealing the first MLB Pride Month jerseys
via Wikimedia Commons

The San Francisco Giants have made Major League Baseball history by becoming the first team to wear rainbow-themed uniforms to honor the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. The team will wear Pride-themed logos inspired by the 11-color Pride Progress flag on the sleeves of their jerseys as well as their hats.

The uniforms aren't just a one-off nod to Pride Month either. They'll be wearing them throughout the entire month of June. The Giants will debut the uniforms against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

The team will also donate some of the proceeds from the game to the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee. The Giants will also host a "Pride Movie Night" at Oracle Park on June 11-12.



via San Francisco Giants

The decision is powerful in a league that has only had one openly gay player and that was in the '70s. Glenn Burke, who played for the Dodgers and A's from 1976 to 1979, was out to his teammates although he kept his sexuality a secret outside of the clubhouse.

To see an entire team of men wearing Pride-themed jerseys represents a sea change in attitudes toward the LGBTQ community in the sport.

"We are extremely proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community as we kick off one of the best annual celebrations in San Francisco by paying honor to the countless achievements and contributions of all those who identify as LGBTQ+ and are allies of the LGBTQ+ community," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer tweeted in a statement.

"I'm very proud that the San Francisco Giants are taking this step," team manager Gabe Kapler told MLB. "I'm very, very proud to be a part of it, and looking forward to the impact and the support that we can provide for the LGBTQ+ community."

It makes sense for the Giants to be the first MLB team to wear Pride-themed jerseys on the field. San Francisco has historically had the highest percentage of LGBTQ citizens in the country and has been at the forefront of issues facing the community.

A little more than half of all MLB teams are hosting Pride events this year. Some teams have had to rethink promotional nights this season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

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While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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