Just in time for Pride Month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has informed American embassies and diplomatic missions that they may once again fly the Pride flag, along with "other symbols connoting support for LGBTQ rights based on what is 'appropriate in light of local conditions."
Foreign Policy reported that the rule change was in a confidential cable sent to the chief of missions at embassies around the world, and while the authorization isn't a direct order to fly Pride flags, it does serve as advanced permission to those who would fly it. The same permissions are required for flying any flag besides the US flag, including POW and MIA flags.
The cable is a "blanket" authorization giving all outposts permission to display pro-LGBTQ insignia on or before May 17, when the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed.
"Posts should support efforts to repeal [criminalization] legislation, while ensuring that 'do no harm' remains our overarching principle so U.S. efforts do not inadvertently result in backlash or further marginalization of the LGBTQI+ community," the cable read.via LGBTQ Nation
While the State Department didn't confirm or deny the contents of the confidential cable, it did release a statement saying that, "Chiefs of Mission are the president's direct representatives overseas. The Department supports their prerogative to manage mission operations to maximize their effectiveness in that role, within the confines of U.S. law and regulation."
In January, Secretary Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that enact policies that will allow American embassies to support and protect LGBTQ rights around the world by flying the rainbow flag. Blinken also promised to reappoint a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, a position that ex-POTUS Trump failed to fill during his own presidency.
Blinken also said he would reject the findings of the Trump administration's Commission on Unalienable Rights, which was staffed by anti-LGBTQ advocates, and concluded that "newly manufactured human rights" such as LGBTQ rights were not worth protecting. He did so in March.
"We've seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase," Blinken told the committee, a committee on which he used to work on as the Democratic Party's staff director.
"We've seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of color, that we've seen ever… and so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the Department is going to take on and take on immediately."via LGBTQ Nation