After the State Department directed U.S. embassies not to fly rainbow flags in support of Pride Month, many embassy officials have taken up the true spirit of Pride in finding new ways to circumnavigate or outright defy the order in protest.
According to The Washington Post, missions in Seoul, South Korea, and Chennai, India, were both “partially hidden behind large rainbow flags” as of earlier this week, and the New Delhi embassy has strung up rainbow-colored lights instead of raising its flag. Many other embassies, like those in Santiago, Chile, and Vienna have reportedly followed an idea from openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell who suggested posting Trump’s statement on LGBTQ+ rights to embassy websites. According to The Post, some embassies opted to post supportive LGBTQ+ messaging without mention of Trump’s statement.
Many diplomats have publicly taken part in Pride celebrations and protests as well, ensuring the citizens of their host country are well aware of their support for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights outside of the U.S.
All embassy officials spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.
Previously, Pride flags could be flown at embassy volition so long as the American flag was larger than the Pride flag and flown above it, according to the Obama administration’s Pride Month guidelines. Now embassy officials must request clearance to fly the flag — all requests to do so this year were denied by the State Department, according to a department official with knowledge of the situation, The Post reports.
If Pride began as a protest, we’re glad some who hold public office are continuing in its tradition.