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Along with Confederate Flag, Defense Secretary Bans LGBTQ Pride Flag

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday July 20, 2020

The LGBTQ Pride flag has become a casualty of the Trump administration's push and pull over what banners are acceptable, and which are not.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, caught between military leaders explicitly disallowing displays of the Confederate flag and President Trump's defense of the banner in the wake of NASCAR forbidding its display, found a way to ban the Confederate flag - which many see as symbolic of race hatred and others view as a symbol of treason against the United States - without actually referencing the banner by name, reports NPR.

Esper's solution was to draw up a comprehensive list of the kinds of flags that may be flown at military installations and other property serving or administered by the Armed Forces. The Confederate flag was left off the list.

But, LGBTQ advocates note, Esper's two-page memorandum, titled Public Display or Depiction of Flags in the Department of Defense," also left the Pride flag off the list.

LGBTQ servicemember support organization the Modern Military Association of America swiftly decried the move.

Esper's had justified crating the list of authorized flags by saying that the new policy would "further improve the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the force in defense of our great Nation."

But Jennifer Dane, the MMA's Interim Executive Director, declared in a press release that the rainbow flag symbolizing LGBTQ pride and inclusivity is "the very symbol of inclusion and diversity."

Asked Dane:

"In what universe is it ok to turn an opportunity to ban a racist symbol like the Confederate flag into an opportunity to ban the symbol of diversity? This decision sends an alarming message to LGBTQ service members, their families, and future recruits."

Dane called for "the Pentagon to reconsider" and, if necessary, for Congress to intervene.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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