US military bases will not be allowed to fly rainbow Pride flags in June, the Pentagon has announced.
Speaking in a press conference, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said there wouldn’t be an “exception” made against a rule that prohibits certain flags for the Pride symbol. He said:
“After some careful consideration the department will maintain the existing policy from July 2020 regarding the display or depiction of unofficial flags so there won’t be an exception made this month for the Pride flag.
“This is no way reflects any lack of respect or admiration for people that [are from] the LGBTQ+ community, the personnel in and out of uniform who serve in this department. We are proud of them.”
The existing policy Kirby was referring to was made by the Trump administration in July 2020. As of then, only certain flags have been allowed on military installations and the decision was made in part to ban the Confederate flag without mentioning it specifically.
Kirby said allowing the Pride flag could reopen debates about other flags in the future.
In April the Biden White House reversed an order issued by Trump’s then-secretary of state Mike Pompeo on flying the pride flag and some US embassies, including in India and Australia, putting the US Pentagon at odds with other policy.
And the Pentagon is not the only institution to recently ban the flag. A school in Indiana sparked a huge backlash after it ordered teachers to remove Pride flags from their classrooms, claiming it stopped students focussing on learning.
Reacting to the decision, people had mixed feelings. Some didn’t think the Pentagon needed to fly the Pride flag, especially if banning it helps stop the Confederate flag from being flown:
@CNN That's a fair ruling. This policy extends to Confederate flags.— xOogieBoogie3x (@xOogieBoogie3x) 1622835278
@kylegriffin1 Honestly why do we need the military to display pride flags?— Joshua (@Joshua) 1622588687
But others thought flying it would provide key representation for LGBTQ+ people in the military:
@kylegriffin1 Considering the percentage of gay people in the military, that would be fantastic. They deserve representation.— official disco turkey member since 2021 (@official disco turkey member since 2021) 1622589288
Whether the policy changes in the future remains to be seen.