Story at a glance
- U.S. embassies are now authorized to fly the pride flag on the same pole as the American flag.
- The Trump administration prohibited this in June 2019.
- Flying the pride flag will not be a requirement and is up to each consulate’s discretion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized U.S. diplomats to fly the rainbow ride flag at embassies and consulates on the same pole as the American flag, according to the New York Times.
Blinken’s action is a reversal of a Trump administration decision in 2019 that prohibited embassies from flying the flag during Pride month, which is observed in June.
The New York Times cites a cable, as well as a State Department official, which states diplomats have permission to fly the pride flag prior to May 17, which is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and allows them to remain raised through June.
While President Trump was in office, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo forbade U.S. embassies from flying the pride flag and the American flag on the same pole, stating that the American flag should always fly alone.
During his January confirmation hearing, Blinken stated that he would support and protect the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community. He said this would include reauthorizing the flying of the pride flag at embassies, rejecting the Trump administration’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights” findings, and appointing an LGBTQ+ envoy. Blinken has not named an envoy at this time.
While displaying the pride flag at U.S. embassies will be embraced in some countries, others, such as in some areas of the Middle East and North Africa, will likely find it controversial due to differing outlooks and laws surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, where same-sex relationships are illegal.
However, Blinken stated that flying the flag was not a requirement and U.S. embassies and envoys were allowed to “determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions.”
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