We’re living in a flag-and-parade kind of society.
Pageantry, symbolism, visual representation…these are virtues of the era.
Perhaps they are virtues of every era.
Either way, in a nod to all the above, the United States is running a new banner up the pole.
As reported by ForeignPolicy.com, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s issued a blanket order.
At embassies and consulates, U.S. diplomatic outposts around the planet can now fly the Pride flag on the same flagpole as the American flag.
Foreign Policy says it obtained “a confidential cable” sent to outposts globally, in which Antony gave the authorization.
The allowance leads us ‘to May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
The theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia has finally been revealed to be “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!” ✨https://t.co/dOyXyoJ8VH
— GAY TIMES (@gaytimes) April 22, 2021
June, if you weren’t aware, is Pride Month.
As for which consulates or embassies will wave the rainbow, such is up to Chiefs of Mission in each case.
They can choose, the cable indicates, based on what’s “appropriate in light of local conditions.”
It’s a noted turn from the Trump administration’s handling of the issue.
In June of 2019, the president denied embassies permission to display the bright, multicolored pendant on official poles.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 7, 2019
From NBC News at the time:
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. 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.
Despite the assertion that the policy opposed rights, Trump made moves where gay support’s concerned.
In fact, he was the first Republican president to celebrate Pride Month.
On May 31st of the same year, he tweeted thusly:
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 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!
Just a few weeks later, the mayor of New Jersey made people mad:
New Jersey Mayor Bans the Gay Pride Flag, & Some Folks are Pipin’ Hot Mad – ‘The Pride Flag Stands for Inclusion’ https://t.co/iTsVHX4ktu
— RedState (@RedState) June 20, 2019
As for the embassies, Vice President Mike Pence backed the Commander-in-Chief:
“When it comes to the American flagpole and American embassies and capitals around the world, one American flag flies.”
Foreign Policy notes that not everyone complied:
Some U.S. embassies worked around the Trump-era directive. The U.S. Embassy in South Korea, for instance, displayed a large Pride flag on its facade, rather than on a flagpole. It later removed the flag at the same time as the State Department ordered it to remove a Black Lives Matter banner.
Exceptions: missing in action, prisoner of war, and foreign service flags.
About the Pride flag issue, a State Department spokesperson explained:
“Chiefs of Mission are the president’s direct representatives overseas. The Department supports their prerogative to manage mission operations to maximize their effectiveness in that role, within the confines of U.S. law and regulation.”
During January’s Senate confirmation hearing, Antony Blinken said he’d allow the LGBT banner.
Once confirmed in his role, he appointed a special envoy to that end.
Visual representation certainly sends a message.
And now, that message can be heard — or, seen, potentially — all over the world.
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