President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off Pride Month on Tuesday touting their efforts to increase diversity in the military and raise the gay pride flag at U.S. outposts around the world.
Some embassies and consulates already fly the distinctive rainbow flag.
“The US Embassy to the Holy See is celebrating #PrideMonth with the Pride flag on display in June,” the embassy wrote on Twitter with a photo of the flag on their building. “The United States respects the dignity and equality of LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights.’
In a statement on Gay Pride Month, which begins June 1, Biden noted that in his first weeks in office, he signed several executive orders extending the definition of discrimination to LGBTQ people and one that prohibits discrimination against transgender service members, what a Trump-turned-era policy.
The president also noted that his administration had announced: it will allow US diplomatic outposts around the world to hoist the Pride flag on the same flagpole as the US flag, also about changing a Trump-era ban.
And he praised his various cabinet and political appointees in his administration, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who is the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate, and Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person ever confirmed by the Senate.
In the Biden administration, 14 percent of all appointees identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, according to the White House.
The US Holy See in Rome posted a photo of the Gay Pride flag waving in honor of Gay Pride month
President Joe Biden praised his diverse cabinet, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate, and Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender to ever be confirmed by the Senate.
On January 25, his fourth day in office, Biden repealed the ban on transgender people openly serving in the military. LGBTQ activists called the policy cruel.
It was announced by President Trump via Twitter in July 2017. The ban specifically barred individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria from being recruited, with limited exceptions.
It also specified that individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the gender assigned to them at birth.
For Pride Month, President Biden praised his efforts to increase diversity in the military and raise the gay pride flag at U.S. outposts around the world
It didn’t affect anyone in service and recognized as transgender, but it did affect new recruits and also said that currently serving troops that were beginning to transition would be fired.
It is not known how many new recruits were turned down, or how many were not recruited. In 2019 the Washington Blade reported that all branches of the military said they had fired zero soldiers and that the Coast Guard had turned down two recruits.
In 2016, a Department of Defense study found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military would have only minimal impact on military readiness and health care costs.
The study also concluded that open transgender service delivery has not significantly impacted operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.
In April, the State Department announced that the Biden administration would allow US embassies and consulates around the world to fly the Gay Pride flag on the same flagpole as the US flag, marking a Trump-era policy. reversed.
In 2019, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blocked embassy requests to fly the symbol of support for LBGTQ people on the same pole as the Stars and Stripes.
But Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken gave permission to fly the flag at diplomatic outposts around the world.
The move came before May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and before June, which is recognized as Gay Pride month by many countries.
Embassies must obtain permission from the State Department if they fly anything other than the American flag on their main flagpoles. But Blinken’s order gave them carte blanche to fly the flag of pride.
In February, Biden released a presidential memorandum aimed at expanding the protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and intersex (LHBTQI) people worldwide.
The memo ordered U.S. agencies working abroad to work harder to fight the criminalization of LGBTQ people by foreign governments and ordered the State Department to include anti-LGBTQ violence, discrimination and laws in its annual human rights report.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 69 countries around the world have laws that criminalize same-sex relationships.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 25 to overturn a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military — Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attended for signature
The US national flag and an LGBT pride flag on the facade of the US Embassy in Moscow in June 2020
Flying the Pride flag — with its signature rainbow stripes — became a problem during the Trump era, when diplomatic outposts were told they couldn’t do this but were allowed to display Pride symbols elsewhere in embassies.
Several embassies simply hung the flag on the facade of the building to show their support for LGBTQ rights.
Then Vice President Mike Pence defended the move in a June 2019 interview with NBC News, saying, “When it comes to the U.S. flagpole, and U.S. embassies and capital cities around the world, one American flag flies.”
Under the Obama administration, embassies were allowed to fly the flag.