The Trump administration has told embassies not to fly LGBTQ pride flags this month, but a handful of them are doing it anyway in defiance of the government’s wishes.
According to diplomats, embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia all asked permission to fly a rainbow flag, only to be told they can’t by the administration.
That should be a disturbing revelation given how often Trump has bragged about being an ally to the LGBTQ community, but you know…
The denials to U.S. embassies have come from the office of the State Department’s undersecretary for management, Brian Bulatao, a longtime associate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who also worked for him at the CIA. Under State Department policy, embassies that want to fly the flag on their flagpoles are expected to obtain permission from Washington.
During the Obama administration, the government granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the pride flag during June. This year, U.S. diplomats said, embassies were told they can display the pride flag in other places, including inside embassies, but that requests to fly it on the flagpole must be specifically approved. No approvals have been granted.
It’s likely that Donald Trump himself doesn’t care about these flags one way or the other, but he’s surrounded himself with conservative Christians who oppose even acknowledging LGBTQ rights if they don’t have to. In this case, his administration gets a double victory because they’re undoing yet another Obama-era policy.
Yet even without permission, some ambassadors are flying the flag anyway.
They just have to be clever about it, as the Washington Post explains:
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.
These are perfect examples of people showing the world the strength, love, and inclusivity of the U.S.
If only they didn’t need to disobey the government to do it.
(Image via Shutterstock)