US Pentagon Bans Pride Flags From Being Flown At Military Bases
The US Department of Defense says it won’t allow pride flags to be flown from military bases or buildings during pride month, citing a decision last year to ban Confederate flags from being displayed.
In a statement on Friday, June 4, the Pentagon said it would uphold a decision taken by the Trump administration last year to limit the type of flags allowed to be displayed at military bases, and would not make an exception for rainbow flags.
That policy was widely seen as a way for the DoD to be able to stop Confederate flags being flown at US bases in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
A spokesperson from the Pentagon said the decision to ban pride flags was not a reflection of the military’s attitude towards LGBTQ+ people, but was made to avoid other groups from potentially attempting to challenge the policy.
John Kirby said:
There won’t be an exception made this month for the pride flag.
This in no way reflects any lack of respect or admiration for people that (are from) the LGBTQ+ community, the personnel in and out of uniform who serve in this department. We are proud of them.
As of 2015, an estimated 5.8% of military personnel identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, The Guardian reports.
The decision has been viewed by some as out-of-step with a Biden administration that has so far been vocally supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, in stark contrast to the previous administration, which implemented several anti-LGBTQ+ policies, including a ban on transgender military personnel and a 2019 ruling stopping pride flags from being displayed at US embassies.
President Biden overturned the trans military ban on his first day in office, and also signed an executive order stating that LGBTQ+ employees at federal agencies should be protected under existing anti-discrimination legislation. In April, the Biden administration granted US embassies ‘blanket written authorisation’ to fly rainbow flags during pride, ABC News reports.
In a proclamation marking the start of pride month last week, Biden said nearly 14% of his appointees to federal roles identified as LGBTQ+, including the first openly gay cabinet member, Pete Buttigieg, and Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.
‘While I am proud of the progress my Administration has made in advancing protections for the LGBTQ+ community, I will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law,’ Biden said.
Featured Image Credit: Senior Airman Leala Marquez/U.S. Air Force/PA Images
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