Newly confirmed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pledged his support to LGBT causes with a commitment to fly pride flags at US embassies around the world, according to The Christian Post.
Blinken, confirmed 78-22 by the US Senate on Tuesday, previously promised to seek protections for LGBTQI people during questioning from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We’ve seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of color, that we’ve seen ever 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 the Department is going to take on and take on immediately.”
Blinken also said he would “repudiate the findings of the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights and reaffirm the United States’ acceptance and adherence to the human rights laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The Commission was created by previous Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July 2019 to bring the Department back to its original mission.
“As human rights claims have proliferated, some claims have come into tension with one another, provoking questions about which rights are entitled to gain respect,” Pompeo said.
Part of this pledge includes flying the pride flag at US embassies. During the Trump administration, the State Department told embassies not to fly the flag. Former Vice President Mike Pence agreed with the decision, stating that “on the flagpole of our American embassies that one flag should fly and that’s the American flag.”
A special envoy to protect human rights of LGBTQI people was created by the Obama administration but left vacant during Trump’s time in office. Though Trump’s administration challenged 69 countries to decriminalize homosexuality and same-sex relationships, Democrat Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts said that “the Trump administration rolled back much of the United States’ previous efforts to support and promote LGBTI rights around the world.”
Blinken was confirmed into Biden’s cabinet after Director of Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Niklas Emmoth
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.