Yesterday, on Monday, June 10, 2019, an interview of United States Vice President Mike Pence that was carried out by NBC News was shared with the world, in which Pence made clear that President Donald Trump handed down a decision to the Department of State that prevented all U.S. embassy buildings from flying rainbow flags in support of LGBT rights.
Reports indicate that a minimum of four United States embassies had formally requested permission from the State Department to fly the rainbow flags that are widely flown by members of the LGBT community and those in support of their rights. Those embassies were located all throughout the globe: Brazil, Germany, Israel, and Latvia.
This is newsworthy because the previous White House administration, which was led by Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, had allowed U.S. embassies to freely fly rainbow flags associated with LGBT communities.
Under the leadership of Barack Obama, U.S. embassies were unofficially able to freely fly the six-color rainbow flag outside of their facilities without requesting permission from the U.S. Department of State, even though the country’s official policy on the issue required the embassies to first ask for permission to do so in a formal manner.
Just a few days prior to Monday’s interview being released by NBC News, in which Vice President Pence shared that he felt the United States had made “the right decision,” the news source had asserted that the Trump-led White House was allegedly, actively keeping multiple embassies from freely touting the flag.
Of course, State Department employees can still wear clothes that bear slogans, images, and other content that supports LGBT rights. They are also able to display flags, including the six-color rainbow flag that was banned from being tied to flagpoles directly outside of U.S. embassies, and other items that share similar sentiments.
Further, they can also speak out publicly in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other similar groups’ rights. For example, the current United States ambassador to Nepal, Randy Berry, shared a picture via Twitter at the end of May that depicted him alongside roughly 100 Nepalese people dressed in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo garments – the colors of the aforementioned rainbow flag – and a balloon sculpture of the words “PRIDE 19.”
Tweets like this are good for all LGBT people – thank goodness for people like Mr. Berry.
It’s also worth noting that the Trump administration’s instruction does not run in concordance with Trump’s tweet earlier this month that outwardly supported equal rights for the United States’ LGBT community.
It is clear that the Trump administration wants the support of LGBT people but clearly doesn’t believe in fully supporting them.