A League of Their Own season 1 – are themes of sexual inversion and LGBTQ+ addressed?

By Marc Miller
Published: August 12, 2022
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This article, “are themes of sexual inversion and LGBTQ+ addressed,” contains spoilers regarding the Amazon original series A League of Their Own (2022) season 1. 

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The most prominent theme of A League of Their Own is how these remarkable women, almost all of the main characters, are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, the term LGBTQ+ did not exist at the time. If you were a homosexual or transgender in the 1940s, the act is known as sexual inversion. This theory became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This lens viewed homosexuality as a reversal of gender traits that were born with and reversed, a gender norm stereotype. This exemplifies how societal norms affect people’s impression of sexual orientation.

The LGBTQ+ characters in this film are classified as sexual inverts and are members of The Invisible Generation. A study published in a manuscript titled Sexualities (2020) found that the “Invisible” generation reported significant risks in social relationships and the lowest levels of coming out and openly discussing their sexual orientation. They also had fewer bias-related experiences (which correlates with the increase in hiding sexual orientation).

And most importantly, keep in mind that it was illegal to be a homosexual in the United States until 1961 when Illinois became the first state to repeal its sodomy law.

A League of Their Own (2022) season 1 – are themes of “sexual inversion,” and LGBTQ+ addressed?

The three main characters, Carson Shaw, Greta Gill, and Maxine Chapman, are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Greta kisses Carson in the pilot episode. At the end of the second episode, we also see Max in a homosexual relationship with a married woman in Rockford. Carson struggles with her general desire and attraction to women and Greta. Why? She has a husband. A soldier currently serving overseas. You will find there was an increase in same-sex infidelity post World War 2. This led to arrests and very unfavorable divorces for the offending party. The divorce court system would allow generous fault divorce for husbands who caught their wives having a same-sex affair. However, other characters are members of the LGBTQ+ community in the series. Other players on the team are Greta’s best friend, Jo. The pitcher, Lupe, and Jess.

Greta operates by a set of rules for his safety, which reflects the findings of the Invisible Generation above. After kissing Carson, she leaves the restaurant with a man on her arm. She always finds a “beard” the same night she starts something with someone. This helps protect her from sodomy laws in the United States at the time and inversion labels. Greta tells the heartbreaking story of her first girlfriend.

As they became more in love, they became less careful, and the partner’s parents had her locked up. However, as Greta and Carson become closer, they also abandon their rules and visit an illegal secret bar in Rockford that specializes in serving their patrons, who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Eventually, the police raid the bar. Carson and Greta escape. Jo, however, Jo is taken into custody and beaten. She is traded away to an opposing team. She was with a married woman at the time. If her name gets out, she will be put in danger.

Maxine hides her sexual orientation. Why? Because she heard her mother talking about her Aunt Bertie. Since Max has traits of loving baseball, she tells her husband that Max has the same qualities as an invert. When Max meets her aunt, she finds out that Bertie is transgender.

How does A League of Their Own (2022) address the issue of transgender characters?  

Bertie has a wife and is transgender. They go by the pronouns he/him and prefer Max address them as Uncle Bertie. At first, Max leaves, and she is in shock. She later returns and allows Bertie to cut her hair short. Her uncle delivers her a custom-made suit, but where Max lives with her best friend, Clance. She finds this embarrassing and is not like you, she tells him. However, she sees the error in her ways when Clance calls Bertie a freak when comforting Max. Eventually, Bertie and Max become quite close. Max leaves on her first professional baseball road trip. He offers her advice on how to stay safe and locations to visit in the Midwest. The relationship forces Maxine to look at her own social norms and possibly, her own omnisexuality. 

The other transgender character is the bar owner shut down by police in Rockford. The character’s name is Vy. If you recognize the actor, it is Rosie O’Donnell, an original cast member of the 1992 film. Vy is beaten by the police and arrested for promoting sexual inversion. 

You can watch this series with a subscription to Amazon Prime. 

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