Pride Month 2019 is well underway, and it seems almost everyone is celebrating with calls for LGBTQ equality. It’s is an especially important year for the LGBTQ community: June 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. But this year, the Trump administration has made it clear that it doesn’t want U.S. embassies to hang pride flags.
According to The Washington Post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo changed the approval process for pride flags last year, requiring embassies to request permission. While no embassies were denied permission in 2018, this year has been a different story.
NBC News reported on June 7th that the State Department had denied several embassies’ requests to fly the pride flag from their flagpoles. This decision marked a significant departure from practice under the Obama administration. Previously, all overseas embassies were allowed to display a pride flag below the American flag.
Vice President Mike Pence defended the move in a June 10th interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker. He said that he and the president were “proud to be able to serve every American,” but argued that only the American flag should fly from embassy flagpoles.
While the State Department has worked to keep pride flags off of flagpoles, President Donald Trump has made a show of supporting the LGBTQ community. On May 31st, he tweeted that his administration was working to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide (never mind the fact that his administration has supported policies that are harmful to LGBTQ people).
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2019
....on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2019
The State Department’s directive hasn’t stopped embassies from celebrating Pride Month.
According to The Guardian, the U.S. Mission in Seoul, South Korea, has hung a rainbow flag from its walls. In India, the Mission in Chennai has also hung a flag, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi has used rainbow-colored lights to show support for Pride Month.
As of June 10th, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey was also displaying a pride flag.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey are proud to join people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Intersex #PrideMonth. We reaffirm the U.S. commitment to defending human rights for all. 🏳️🌈 #LGBTI #PrideMonth2019 #pride #loveislove pic.twitter.com/rtZrtcTsUt— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) June 10, 2019
The U.S. Ambassador to Nepal tweeted a picture of himself at a Pride Month celebration.
Today, along with the U.S. Mission in Nepal community, I join people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Intersex #PrideMonth, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to defending human rights for all. #Pride2019 pic.twitter.com/5awKWtcP80— Ambassador Randy Berry (@USAmbNepal) June 1, 2019
We’re glad to see these embassies standing up for the LGBTQ community. Celebrating Pride Month won’t end discrimination, but it is an important way to amplify marginalized voices and highlight the need for equality. Hopefully, we’ll see more pride flags as the month continues.