Will the Pride Flag Fly at US Military Bases?

June 4, 2021Jennifer Lewis
pride flag on us military bases

The rainbow flag is a symbol for the LGBTQ community, signifying diversity and pride. Photo via Pixabay.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his legal team are investigating whether to allow the gay pride flag to be flown on US military installations.

The move comes during June’s Pride Month, a celebration for the LGBTQ community and a reminder of the hardships and injustices individuals within this demographic have faced in the past.

Last year, in an attempt to curb the display of Confederate flags on US military bases, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a memo detailing guidelines on which flags are approved for display on Defense Department installations. Although this new guideline did not explicitly ban Confederate flags, it stated that any flag that does not represent US states and allied countries is forbidden display in public areas at active military bases.

The gay pride flag is among those colors that do not fall within the new protocol.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin briefs the press from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Washington, DC, Feb. 19, 2021. DOD Photo by US Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders.

However, according to some defense officials, lifting the restriction on the pride flag could open the floodgates for other symbols and flags to be displayed on military facilities.

In April, Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized US diplomatic outposts to fly the pride flag on the same flagpole as the American flag, perhaps setting a precedent for the Defense Department to follow suit. This move, however, could spark a debate about what social justice issues merit inclusion of US military flagpoles. As of now, the Black Lives Matter flag is also barred from military bases.

Austin is set to hold a keynote address Wednesday at the Pentagon in honor of the LGBTQ community, a tradition the Biden administration reinstated after President Donald Trump stopped it. Austin’s keynote will be the first since the Pentagon terminated the Trump administration’s transgender military ban.

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Jennifer Lewis
Jennifer Lewis
Jennifer Lewis is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. A native of New York, Jennifer is a media relations manager in the music industry and a freelance writer who specializes in true crime, entertainment, and culture. She’s traveled throughout the world not only to find her own story, but to also hear the stories of those longing to tell them. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her cat, Avery.
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