Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman John Kirby told CNN on Friday that the Pentagon will leave unchanged its policy prohibiting the display of “unofficial flags” at military installations. The decision to decline a policy exemption for the pride flag doesn’t “in any way reflect on the respect and admiration we feel for all our LGBTQ+ personnel in and out of uniform,” Kirby said.
The DOD had been reviewing a policy, instituted last year, that limited which flags are allowed to be flown at American bases. The 2020 policy effectively banned the display of the Confederate flag and such activism symbols as pride and Black Lives Matter flags. Officially approved symbols include the American flag and the POW/MIA flag, as well as the flags of US allies, military branches and senior officers.
“Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community, for whom flags embody common mission, common histories and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” then-defense chief Mark Esper said at the time the rules were announced.
But that was under Trump, and with Biden taking office in January, the policy was reconsidered. The new president has tried to show that he’s a strong ally of LGBTQ+ activists since the day he was inaugurated, when he signed an executive order to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in healthcare, housing and education.
Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, issued blanket authorization in April for US diplomatic installations to fly the rainbow flag during Pride Month, even on the same pole as the American flag. That policy reversed a Trump-era ban on such displays using the official flagpoles at embassies and consulates.
Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said the decision to refuse an exemption allowing the pride flag stemmed from concerns over “challenges to the policy that an exception of this kind might engender and encourage.”
Major corporations, such as Coca-Cola and Citibank, have long pandered to special interests by flying the pride flag and adding the rainbow to their symbolism, including logos. But those initiatives have been selective in many cases, with logos being left rainbow-free in certain regions.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.