The American embassy in Helsinki has sidestepped a ban from the Trump administration on flying Pride flags on their flagpole – although there won’t be a rainbow flag hoisted at the mission in Helsinki’s Eira neighbourhood.
US and international media have reported that American embassies around the world applied for special permission to fly the Pride flag on the flagpole during pride Month, only to be refused.
During the Obama Administration, all US embassies received permission to raise the rainbow flag during Pride Month if they wanted to.
The Washington Post says this change of attitude is a sign the Trump Administration “may be quietly abandoning the advancement of rights for gay and transgender people as a foreign policy imperative”.
American Vice President Mike Pence – who previously said there would be “societal collapse” if gay people were allowed to marry – agrees with the ban, telling journalists “when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies”.
Helsinki embassy sidesteps the ban
The American embassy in Helsinki is diplomatically sidestepping the ban, by not flying the flag officially but still taking part in other Pride Month events.
“Individuals of the US Embassy are joining the diplomatic community and marching in the Helsinki Pride Parade on June 29” an embassy spokesperson tells News Now Finland.
“In addition to the parade, the US Embassy is sponsoring a screening of the PBS documentary ‘Stonewall Uprising‘ on June 25 in cooperation with HeSeta and the Finnish National Museum on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall” the spokesperson says.
The spokesperson wouldn’t be drawn on whether the American embassy in Helsinki had applied for permission to fly the Pride flag on an embassy flagpole or not.
Other American embassies
Around the world, other American embassies are being more defiant than the Helsinki mission.
In Delhi, the facade of the US embassy was lit up in rainbow flag colours. In Nepal the Ambassador and staff dressed in rainbow colours and held up balloons spelling out “Pride 19”.
In Germany the US embassy Berlin spokesman said “the pride flag will be on as many places as it can be at the Embassy”.