Blinken Will Allow Embassies to Fly LGBTQ Pride Flag on Same Pole as U.S. Flag

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a welcome ceremony after arriving at the State Department in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will allow U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide to fly the LGBTQ pride flag on the same pole as the American flag, according to a new report.

Blinken’s directive, first reported by Foreign Policy, comes after the Trump administration denied requests from embassies to display the rainbow flag on the same pole as the U.S. flag during LGBTQ pride month in June. 

The policy shift allows the flag to be flown before May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, through the end of June, according to the New York Times.

In a confidential cable to diplomatic posts authorizing the policy shift, Blinken said each mission will not be required to display the flag, according to the Times, and leaders will be given the authority to “determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions.”

Under the Trump administration, some embassies displayed the pride flag separately from the U.S. flag, including in South Korea, where the rainbow flag was featured on a building façade. However, it was ultimately removed.

In 2019, then-Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News that the administration’s policy aimed to create unity.

“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence said. “We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies.”

Pence noted that the Trump administration had “put no restrictions” on the pride flag flying elsewhere at U.S. embassies.

Meanwhile, Biden’s State Department told the New York Post in a statement that the president “believes that America’s strength is found in its diversity. America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive.”

“Recognizing that each country context is different, U.S. embassies and consulates develop individual plans to raise awareness of violence, human rights abuses, and discrimination targeting LGBTQI+ persons, including appropriate exterior displays,” the statement added.

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