By Hammad B. Hammad
During June, the employee affinity group (EAG) glifaa—LGBTQI+ Pride in Foreign Affairs Agencies—commemorated Pride Month by collaborating with leaders, bureaus, and other EAGs, bringing awareness and standing strong for LGBTQI+ issues and rights. Speaking events and flag-raising ceremonies were held in Washington and worldwide, beginning with a virtual event co-sponsored by glifaa and the Atlantic Council, “Pressing for Equality: Engaging on LGBTQI Issues Around the World,” June 21. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated and called the treatment of LGBTQI+ people “one of the leading human rights issues of our time.”
Marking a historic moment, glifaa President Jeff Anderson joined Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley at a flag-raising ceremony to post the Progress Flag outside the Harry S. Truman building for the first time, June 25. Recently appointed United States Special Envoy for Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Jessica Stern also joined the ceremony.
More than 130 embassies and consulates worldwide flew the Pride or Progress flag during International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia—which is observed on May 17—and/or throughout June. This included 30 embassies and consulates who flew the flags for the first time ever. Many others plan to fly a flag in the coming months as appropriate to local communities.
Other events were planned throughout Pride Month in collaboration with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as well as fellow EAGs Asian American Foreign Affairs Association, and Mosaic. Additionally, events were held at more than 120 embassies and consulates courtesy of glifaa’s post representatives.
As they approach their 30th anniversary, glifaa will build on the successful events of Pride Month to make progress on same-sex accreditation issues, expanding equality for transgender employees and family members, and they will continue to advocate for and safeguard LGBTQI+ rights in the Department of State.
Hammad B. Hammad is a political-economic officer at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome and vice president of glifaa.