US Embassies Fly Pride Flags Even After Trump's Administration Told Them They Can't
Celebrating Pride openly didn't seem like it was in the cards for most U.S. embassies this year after diplomats around the world were denied requests to hoist the rainbow flag by Trump administration bosses back in Washington, D.C. But The Washington Post reported Saturday that some U.S. embassies are still flying the pride flag and ignoring cables from the Trump administration that have tried to put a halt to the practice that under Obama was routine.
On Friday, NBC News first reported that embassies around the world were being denied requests, noting embassies in countries like Israel, Germany, Brazil, and Latvia had all been denied the official requests to fly the flag, which has been a symbol of the LGBTQ community since 1978. The Post reported that many consulates and embassies' websites and social media accounts showed rainbow flags draped over buildings — and some, like in Chile and Austria, even had the flag hoisted up on the a flag pole.
"This is a category one insurrection," one diplomat told the paper on condition of anonymity.
Bustle reached out to the State Department for comment on both the denied requests and the flags that were reportedly raised anyway.
CNN reported Friday that Trump's ambassador to Germany was annoyed by the denial. A source told the news channel that flying the flag on the flag pole underneath the American flag was "always accepted," but this year the source said "an email was sent back from State's Management office, saying no. 'Denied.'"
In Germany, Ambassador Richard Grenell, who is gay, plans to hang a flag from the side of the building instead, CNN reported. "His take now is basically, OK, then we'll fly it inside the embassy, we'll fly it from the window, we'll fly it from the balcony, and everywhere else," a source from the embassy told the cable news channel.
The ambassador released a statement in response to the news. "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," the statement read, as obtained by CNN, reads.
Trump did tweet a recognition of Pride month at the beginning of June — a first for any Republican president. He wrote both about recognizing the "outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation" and also mentioned standing 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 also referenced the decriminalization campaign that was started by Grenell. What exactly the campaign will consist of is still far from clear. According to NBC News, it started with a dinner with European activists in Berlin to try and come up with a plan to tackle discrimination in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Trump's public acknowledgment of Pride came this year, whereas the policy on raising rainbow flags changed last year, following Mike Pompeo taking the top job at State, The Post reported. There was a cable that said diplomats needed top-level approval for the flags. The denials reportedly came from the office of the State Department's undersecretary for management, Brian Bulatao, according to NBC News.
Apart from the Pride flag policy, the Trump administration has systematically worked to reverse LGBTQ rights — particularly transgender rights — since taking office. He has put a ban on trans people serving in the military, reversed guidance to protect trans kids in schools, and reversed regulations protecting trans people from discrimination in health care. Some of the administration's latest anti-LGBTQ moves even came within a week of Pride month and his tweet.