US embassies in Namibia, the Bahamas and the Vatican fly Pride flag in defiance of anti-LGBT+ hate

A Pride flag on the US embassy to the Holy See, in Vatican City.

US embassies in Namibia, the Bahamas and the Vatican are flying Pride flags in defiance of anti-LGBT+ hate for Pride month.

Earlier this year, president Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump’s ban on US embassies flying Pride flags. Now, during the first Pride month of Biden’s presidency, they’re flying around the world.

In Vatican City, at the US embassy to the Holy See, a huge Pride flag was hung on the building, making a powerful statement against anti-LGBT+ hate deep in the heartlands of the Roman Catholic Church.

In March this year, the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith insisted that God “does not bless sin” when responding to the question of whether Catholic churches can bless same-sex unions, which led to protests around the world, as well as a statement from Biden himself. 

Biden, a devout Roman Catholic, confirmed at the time that he “continues to believe, and support same-sex unions”.

The Vatican City embassy is not the only one to raise the rainbow flag in a country known for its hostility towards the LGBT+ community, with the US embassies in Namibia and the Bahamas also putting up flags for Pride month.

In Namibia, which has upheld historic Roman-Dutch laws against sodomy that date back to the time before independence and has no anti-discrimination laws, the US embassy shared on Twitter: “The US Embassy in Namibia raised the rainbow flag this morning in celebration of Pride Month and support for #EqualRightsForAll.”

In the Bahamas, which expressly prohibits same-sex marriage in its Marriage Act and has no laws against anti-LGBT+ discrimination, the embassy also flew the Pride flag.

The US embassy Nassau tweeted on 1 June: Today is the start of Pride Month. US Embassy Nassau proudly supports the struggle to end violence, discrimination, criminalisation, and stigma against LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”

Former president Trump largely ignored Pride during his time as president barring one instance in 2019, the same year his administration denied US embassies the right to fly rainbow flags unless they were granted permission by the State Department.

But the Biden-Harris administration has actively worked to become more LGBT-inclusive, and in April, the administration gave blanket approval to US embassies and diplomatic outposts to fly LGBT+ Pride flags on the same flagpole as the US flag.

President Biden also recognised Pride Month 2021 with an empassioned speech, breaking years of silence from Trump, which featured a call for action against deadly transphobia.