The Biden administration proudly announced a commitment to public displays of “gay pride” when newly appointed Secretary of State Anthony Blinken lifted a ban on rainbow “gay rights” flags being displayed at US embassies.
Many mainstream media are mistakenly touting the flag ban that was instituted during the Trump administration as an anti-gay measure. In fact, the ban against rainbow flags was initiated by Defense Secretary Mark Esper as part of an initiative that also banned Confederate flags at embassies as well as military bases.
“The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols,” Esper stated in the memo.
In 2019, the State Department rejected requests from US embassies in at least three countries to fly a rainbow banner next to the American flag in honor of Gay Pride month which falls in June. The rainbow flag was allowed to be displayed elsewhere on embassy grounds, however.
Vice President Pence defended the policy, calling it “the right decision.” “[W]hen it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” he told NBC News.
Blinken, who was confirmed last Tuesday, also said the White House will appoint a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, a position established under the Obama administration but which remained unfilled under Trump. It should be noted that Richard Grenell became the first openly gay cabinet member when Trump appointed him Acting Director of National Intelligence in 2020.
As justification for his proposed measures, Blinken claimed that attacks based on sexual-orientation bias were on the rise. FBI statistics contradict this statement, showing that gender identity hate-crimes spiked in 2014 under Obama and dropped in 2017 after Trump was elected. show that of the approximately 7,000 single-bias incidents, less than 16% were motivated by sexual orientation bias. Though this may be true, it is disturbing to note that the worst anti-gay attack in US history took place in June 2016 when Omar Mateen, an Afghani Muslim American, shot and killed 49 people, and injuring 53 in a shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub. It was the deadliest shooting by a single shooter in United States history until the Las Vegas Strip shooting on October 1, 2017.
Blinken also pledged to “repudiate” the Commission for Unalienable Rights that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created in 2019. The commission’s stated purpose was to “provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters…grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”