State Department Will Fly ‘Progress’ Flag To Mark Pride Month

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement on Monday.
A Progress Pride flag and rainbow flags are seen at the Stonewall National Monument, the first US national monument dedicated to LGBTQ history and rights, marking the birthplace of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights movement, on June 1, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department will fly the “Progress” flag, a new variation of the rainbow pride flag, to mark Pride Month later this month.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement at an Atlantic Council event on Monday, saying, “I think this is going to be a significant couple of days, and we will see the Progress flag flying at the State Department.”

The flag will be hoisted on June 26, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage across the country, and will fly for three days until June 28, the 52nd anniversary of the first day of the Stonewall Riots in Manhattan.

Blinken called the flag “a symbol that encompasses the diversity and intersectionality of LGBTQI persons and communities around the world.”

The secretary of state also announced that U.S. embassies in other countries are approved to fly the “Progress” flag this month as well.

“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. “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,” the secretary of state added on Monday.

The new policy is a reversal of a policy of the Trump administration, which denied requests from U.S. embassies in several countries to fly the pride flag during Pride Month in 2019.

“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 of the administration’s decision at the time.

The “Progress” flag builds on the more familiar rainbow LGBT pride flag by adding colors that recognize other minority groups and their relationship to LGBT issues, including people of color, transgender people, and those who live with or have died from HIV/AIDS. The “Progress” flag adds a black, brown, light blue, pink, and white chevron on top of the horizontal rainbow to represent those groups.

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death last month, the Biden administration approved the use of the Black Lives Matter flag at U.S. embassies across the world.

A leaked State Department memo reported by Human Events revealed that the Biden administration State Department officially supports the use of the term “Black Lives Matter.”

“The 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 on May 25 and beyond. We encourage posts to focus on the need to eliminate systemic racism and its continued impact,” the memo read in part.

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