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It seems that the Trump administration is not treating LGBTQ pride as an extension of the United States and has barred several overseas embassies from waving the rainbow flag in concert with the American flag during Pride Month, reports NBC News.
Three American diplomats reportedly told the outlet that the Trump administration has expressly denied their request to wave the rainbow flag during the month of June.
“The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia are among those that have requested permission from Trump’s State Department to fly the pride flag on their flagpoles and have been denied, diplomats said,” reports NBC News. “Although the pride flag can and is being flown elsewhere on embassy grounds, including inside embassies and on exterior walls, the decision not to allow it on the official flagpole stands in contrast to President Donald Trump’s claim to be a leader in supporting LGBTQ rights overseas.”
As to why the Trump administration has denied the request remains to be seen, though speculation is it sees LGBT rights and pride as two separate issues. For instance, the administration’s recent call to decriminalize homosexuality in countries such as Iran stems from an ideological impulse to see individuals treated with dignity and respect, which makes it a U.S. diplomatic endeavor, not an LGBT endeavor. It would be as if the embassies were to suddenly put crucifixes on the front lawns to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians.
That being said, the Trump administration has only barred the pride flag for being placed on the flagpole alongside the U.S. flag, not on embassy grounds. Openly gay ambassador Richard Grenell of Germany told NBC News in a statement that the rainbow flag will be present in the Berlin Embassy.
“The President’s recognition of Pride Month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag,” Grenell said.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, will also be displaying the rainbow flag on the side of the building, not in concert with the American flag on the flagpole.
President Trump also formally recognized Pride Month this year by reiterating his administration’s position on decriminalizing homosexuality in other countries.
“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,” the president tweeted earlier this week.
In 2018, the GOP even introduced a bill in the U.S. House seeking to bar the rainbow flag from being displayed in concert with the American flag on U.S. Embassies. Contrary to initial reports, the bill did not single out LGBT flags and simply banned any flag that was not Old Glory.
“The United States flag is the single greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known, and there’s no reason for anything but Old Glory to be flying over our embassies and posts around the globe,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said at the time.