June 3, 2017 at 8:43 am PDT | by Michael K. Lavers
State Dept. allows embassies, consulates to acknowledge Pride month

The State Department has issued guidance to U.S. embassies and consulates that allow them to acknowledge Pride month.
(Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A State Department spokesperson on Friday said embassies and consulates have received guidance that allows them to recognize Pride month.

“Advancing the human rights of vulnerable groups including LGBTI persons is a core component of U.S. foreign policy,” the spokesperson told the Los Angeles Blade. “All people should be protected from discrimination and violence, and must be allowed to exercise their human rights, including their rights to the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and religion or belief.”

“LGBTI Pride celebrations are an expression of these rights,” added the spokesperson. ”As such, the department has issued guidance to embassies and consulates allowing them to, as appropriate to their local context, recognize LGBTI Pride Month.”

The rainbow flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

“So incredibly proud of U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo for raising the Pride flag today,” wrote former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster on his Facebook page.

The U.S. Embassies in Chile and Mexico in recent days have also publicly acknowledged Pride month.

The rainbow flag flew over the U.S. Embassy in Cuba on May 17 in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Ivanka Trump acknowledes Pride month in tweets

The promotion of LGBT and intersex rights abroad were a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry was among those who spoke at last year’s GLIFAA Pride event at the State Department. It took place less than two weeks after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Neither Secretary of State Rex Tillerson nor President Trump have yet to issue proclamations that officially recognize Pride month. They have also not publicly commented on the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

It remains unclear whether GLIFAA will hold an annual Pride event at the State Department as it has done in previous years.

Ivanka Trump on Thursday in a tweet wished “everyone a joyful #Pride2017.” She also wrote she is “proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.”

Activists and others on social media who oppose her father’s policies quickly criticized her.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. Follow Michael

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