U.S. embassies denied permission to fly LGBTQ2 pride flag from flagpoles: Reports

ABOVE: The Trump administration has reportedly rejected requests from several U.S. embassies to fly the LGBTQ pride flag from flagpoles, despite the president's previous claims of being a supporter of the community overseas.

The Trump administration has denied the request of overseas embassies to fly the rainbow pride flag on their flagpoles to commemorate LGBTQ2 Pride Month, U.S. media reports say.

NBC first reported on Friday that U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia were among those which requested permission from the U.S. State Department to fly the pride flag from the flagpole.

According to NBC, unnamed diplomats have confirmed those requests were denied.


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While embassies are required to obtain permission from the State Department when flying anything besides the American flag on their main flagpoles, the Obama administration had previously granted blanket permission to allow embassies to fly the flag during the month of June.

According to an ABC report, in previous years, an official cable was sent from Washington with guidance on how to mark LGBTQ2 Pride Month and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

However, this year, ABC reports U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not approve the cable and instead, the department sent an email to posts which noted it would not transmit an official cable this year.

An unamed source reportedly told CNN at the U.S. embassy in Berlin, flying the rainbow flag during June had been “a routine thing that happens every year.”

“It’s always accepted,” the source told CNN, adding that the embassy had only requested this year to fly the flag during Berlin’s Pride Week at the end of the month.

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“An email was sent back from State’s Management office, saying no. Denied,” the source told CNN.

This year, U.S. diplomats reportedly told NBC that embassies were advised the pride flag could be displayed in other places — including inside — but requests to fly it from the flagpole must be specifically approved.

According to NBC, no approvals have been granted.


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At the Berlin embassy, the denial is particularly jarring.

The embassy’s ambassador, Richard Grenell, is openly gay and is an advocate for LGBTQ2 rights across the globe.

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According to CNN, when asked if Grenell was annoyed that permission had not been granted, a source at the State Department replied “Yes.”

“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,'” the source told CNN.

In a statement to NBC on Friday, Grenell said the embassy will hang a “huge banner on the side of the embassy” and will host “multiple events” during Pride Month.


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News of the decision from the State Department comes just a week after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his recognition of the beginning of Pride Month.

“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 tweeted.

“My administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!” he continued.

Trump’s posts were met with criticism, with many pointing to the stark contrast between his tweets, and his administration’s recent move to revoke newly won health-care discrimination protections for transgender people.

On May 24, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says “gender identity” is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.

The regulation would reverse an Obama-era policy that the Trump administration already is not enforcing.

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That move was seen as the latest in a series of actions by the Trump administration that aim to reverse gains by LGBTQ2 Americans in areas including the military, housing and education.

The administration has also moved to restrict military service by transgender men and women, proposed allowing certain homeless shelters to take gender identity into account in offering someone a bed for the night and concluded in a 2017 Justice Department memo that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work.

— With files from The Associated Press 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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