Trump Bans U.S. Embassies Worldwide From Flying Pride Flags

The ban contradicts the administration's campaign to decriminalize homosexuality overseas.

The Trump administration has denied requests from U.S. embassies to fly LGBTQ Pride flags in commemoration of Pride Month, according to several diplomats.

Diplomats from embassies in Israel, Brazil, Germany, and Latvia are among those who applied for permission to fly the rainbow flags on their official flagpoles but were rejected, NBC News reports.

These denials came directly from the office of Brian Bulatao, the State Department’s undersecretary for management and a longtime associate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While the Obama administration had granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the Pride flag during June, State Department policy under Trump now states that embassies must get explicit approval before flying flags on their official flagpoles.

The Pride symbols can reportedly be hung elsewhere on embassy grounds, but banning them from official poles seems to fly in the face of Trump’s recent tweet supporting LGBTQ rights, particularly overseas.

“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,” Trump wrote. “My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”

This marks the first time in office that Trump has recognized June as LGBTQ Pride Month after failing to issue Pride Month proclamations in 2017 and 2018.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump had previously told a reporter in February that he was unaware of his administration’s international initiative to decriminalize homosexuality, an effort headed up by Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany and the highest-profile openly gay individual in the administration.

“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 wrote Friday in a statement to NBC News.

When asked if the flag would be flown on the flagpole outside the American Embassy in Berlin, spokesman Joseph Giordono-Scholz replied, “The pride flag will be on as many places as it can at the Embassy.”

Several LGBTQ U.S. diplomats confirm they have discussed the issue in a private group chat for members of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA).

In response to the international rainbow flag ban, GLAAD tweeted, “Remember last week when President Donald Trump was pretending to celebrate Pride Month?”


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