Antony Blinken allowed U.S. embassies to set the LGBTQ flag on the same flagpole as the American flag.
The Secretary of State approved the initiative for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on May 17.
The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has authorized all diplomatic representation of the North American country in the world (embassies and consulates) also have the LGBTQ flag on the same flagpole as that of the United States to show their support for the rights of the movement, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
The decision represents a change from former President Donald Trump's handling of the matter while Mike Pompeo led the State Department.
In a secret cable reviewed by foreign policy and sent to U.S. diplomatic missions abroad, Blinken authorized officials in various countries to fly the flag of pride before May 17, against homophobia, transphobia, and bipolar disorder. International Day marks June as well. It is a proud month in the United States and many other states.
The cable said that authorization is not a requirement and that the heads of mission who run each embassy or consulate can choose whether to wave the flag or display other symbols that demonstrate support for LGBTQ rights based on what is "appropriate to them in light of local conditions," according to Foreign Policy.
Adding the Pride flag to the embassies of the United States was an issue that generated debate during the Trump administration when the State department blocked requests from delegates to fly the flag like a North American country on the same flagpole. Diplomats were informed that they could display the Pride symbols at other embassy sites.
In 2019, then-Vice President Mike Pence defended the measure. Speaking to NBC News, he stated that "when it comes to the American flagpole and American embassies and capitals worldwide, only an American flag flies."
For example, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea displayed a large, proud flag on the front of the flag.
He then removed the flag while the State Department ordered him to remove a Black Lives Matter banner.
All U.S. diplomatic missions need the prior written approval of senior officials in the State Department in Washington to hoist any flag on the same flagpole as the country's flag, except one from the foreign service or another from a prisoner of war / missing in action. By U.S. law, these flags must be flown under the U.S. flag.
The head of the mission is a direct representative of the President abroad. A State Department spokesman told Foreign Policy that the State Department supports its bias in conducting mission operations to maximize its effectiveness in this role, within the limits of U.S. law and order.
Since taking office, Blinken has been committed to defending the rights of the LGBTQ community, including allowing embassies to carry the Pride flag.
Blinken said the United States, which has not yet appointed a State Department special envoy for collective rights, has a role in defending LBGTQ people's rights. This position was left vacant for much of the Trump administration.
U.S. embassies in countries with broad reservations for LGBTQ communities, such as Western Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia, fly the pride flag. A flag at the U.S. Embassy may be more important in countries where LGBTQ communities face threats of hatred or criminal prosecution or the death sentence, such as Russia or countries in the Middle East and the North from Africa.
According to Human Rights Watch, At least 69 countries around the world have laws criminalizing homosexuality, according to Human Rights Watch.
The State Department's internal cable also claimed that, in some countries, an American embassy flying the Pride flag, or discussing the legalization or decriminalization of same-sex relationships, could do more harm than good. According to Foreign Policy, Such actions could fire resentment against local LGBTQ communities themselves.