State Department to fly ‘Progress’ flag in honor of Pride Month

The State Department will fly its pride flag later this month.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed at an Atlantic Council event Monday that the department will fly the “Progress” flag for the first time to mark Pride Month.

Blinken described the flag — which incorporates a black, brown, light blue, pink and white chevron into the traditional rainbow-colored pride flag — as “a symbol that encompasses the diversity and intersectionality of LGBTQI persons and communities around the world.”

The secretary said the flag would be flown for three days beginning June 26, the anniversary of the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage nationwide. The final day of the tribute, June 28, marks the 52nd anniversary of the beginning of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village.

Blinken also said he had given ambassadors around the world permission to fly the pride flag if they desired. In June 2019, the Trump administration denied requests from US embassies in at least four countries — Brazil, Germany, Israel and Latvia — to fly the flag during that month’s festivities.

“When it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” then-Vice President Mike Pence said at the time.

The Progress flag was designed to incorporate the all LGBTQIA identities.
The Progress flag was designed to incorporate the all LGBTQIA identities.

“When we’re trying to advance, defend, support the protection of LGBTQI persons around the world, we want to make sure that we’re doing this in a way that takes into account the specific situation, conditions in a given country,” Blinken said Monday. “But in every single country where we’re represented, our chiefs of mission, our ambassadors, our charges – whoever’s in charge – have the authority to fly the pride flag on an exterior, external-facing pole at the embassy.

“And I think that’s hugely important because this is, again, the strength, the power of our own example, the willingness to speak up, to speak out, to show the strength of our own diversity, including at our embassies, I think sends a hugely important message.”

Last month, US embassies around the world displayed Black Lives Matter flags to mark the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

A memo leaked to Human Events said the State Department “supports the use of the term ‘Black Lives Matter’ in messaging content, speeches, and other diplomatic engagements with foreign audiences to advance racial equity and access to justice … We encourage posts to focus on the need to eliminate systemic racism and its continued impact.”

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