In a notable achievement for the LGBTQ community worldwide the U.S. administration, under President Biden, is allowing its embassies to fly the gay Pride flag on the same flagpole that has the American flag. In 2019, Mike Pompeo did not allow embassies to fly the flag on the same flagpole as the Stars and Stripes. So, some staff in embassies and consulates simply used the facade of their embassy buildings to hang the flag.
The Obama administration had also given embassies the permission to fly the flag. It was only in the Trump era that Mike Pence had to defend the move of disallowing the flag to fly to NBC News in a June 2019 interview. He said that when it came to the American Flagpole and American embassies and capitals around the world that “one American flag flies.”
Earlier, if embassies decided to fly any other flag, beside the Stars and Stripes, they had to get permission from the State Department. With this recent cable by Blinken, they can now show their support. However, they have been asked to show restraint in countries where flying the rainbow flag may cause more problems for the community, instead of being a way to show support.
Blinken’s cable to embassies and consulates all over the world advocates that chiefs of mission can choose their action of support. If they wish, they can fly a flag or use other symbols of support for the LGBTQ community and their rights but they should base their support according to what is “appropriate in light of local conditions.” The confidential cable was reviewed by Foreign Policy magazine.
According to Human Rights Watch, it is a crime to have relations with the same sex, in approximately 70 countries or more, worldwide. This is the reason why the cable asks embassies and consulates to proceed with caution.
May 17 is said to be the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. June is also recognized as Gay Pride Month. The directive from Biden through Blinken to embassies and consulates comes in time to celebrate these occasions wherever possible, around the world.