The Trump Administration Has Banned U.S. Embassies From Flying Flags for Pride Month

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2014.
Image: AP

In yet another needless attack on the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration has rejected all requests from U.S. embassies to fly rainbow flags during June, otherwise known as Pride Month.

Embassies in several countries, including Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia, were among those who requested—and were subsequently denied—permission to fly Pride flags. But in an odd caveat, the flag is allowed to be flown elsewhere on embassy grounds, including inside the building and on exterior walls, which is exactly what many are doing. According to the Washington Post,

The facades of the U.S. missions in Seoul and Chennai, India, are partially hidden behind large rainbow flags, while the embassy in New Delhi is aglow in rainbow colored lights. The website for the embassy in Santiago, Chile, shows a video of the chief diplomat raising a rainbow flag last month for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The Vienna embassy’s website features a photo of a rainbow flag flying below Old Glory on a mast jutting from the building, a statement by Diplomats for Equality and a story about a professor lecturing on the visibility and growth of LGBT rights.

U.S. diplomats in Jerusalem joined a March for Pride and Tolerance, and several ambassadors have tweeted photos of themselves in local Pride parades or standing outside the embassies surrounded by employees holding up letters spelling PRIDE.

“This is a category one insurrection,” said one diplomat, who like others interviewed about the sentiment over the rejections, which were not made in writing, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired.

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Under Obama, Pride flags simply had to be smaller than the American flags they flew beneath. But under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian who is a strong proponent of marriage being between a man and a woman, symbols of LGBT expression are being downplayed.

Last year, the State Department’s usual cable containing guidelines for marking Pride Month said diplomats are required to obtain top-level approval before flying rainbow flags, though all requests to do so were approved. This year, there was no cable, and all requests were denied.

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Oddly, Trump tweeted his support for Pride at the start of the month, writing,

As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals....

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What’s this? Conflicting messages in the otherwise well-oiled machine of the Tump administration?! You don’t say.

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