New Secretary of State Antony Blinken Will Allow US Embassies to Fly Pride Flags Again
Joe Biden’s new secretary of state has made several promises to the LGBT+ community, including “urgently” appointing an LGBT+ envoy.
Antony Blinken, who will lead the Biden-Harris administration’s Department of State, made the comments at his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday (19 January), according to CNN.
He outlined changes he would make to ensure that the US government was “standing up for and defending” the LGBT+ community once Biden is in office.
The position of LGBT+ envoy, which was created to oversee US government efforts to support LGBT+ human rights, was left vacant during Trump’s presidency.
But Blinken said that filling the role was “a matter, I think, of some real urgency”.
He added: “We’ve seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase.
“We’ve seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of colour, that we’ve seen ever.
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“And so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the department is going to take on and take on immediately.”
The new secretary of state also said that while working for the Biden administration, he would officially repudiate the findings of Trump’s anti-LGBT+ “Commission on Unalienable Rights”.
The commission, which was supposedly based on “natural law”, was formed by the Trump administration in July, 2019, to undercut the US government’s existing human rights laws.
The group was dominated by officials with anti-LGBT+ views, with seven of the ten members having expressed these views publicly, and when the commission was announced, anti-LGBT+ activist Brian Brown said it was an “extraordinary opening” to reverse LGBT+ equality.
Lastly, Blinken said he would allow all US embassies to fly Pride flags, after Trump banned US embassies from flying it for the entirety of June, 2020.