June 8, 2016 at 11:26 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
U.S. embassies, consulates acknowledge Pride month

Tel Aviv Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Embassy in Israel celebrates Pride month ahead of Tel Aviv’s annual Pride march that drew more than 200,000 people on June 3, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Gregory/A Wider Bridge)

American embassies and consulates around the world are flying rainbow flags to commemorate Pride month.

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines posted a picture of the large Pride flag on its building to its Twitter page on Tuesday.

The rainbow flag is currently flying over the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam and gay Ambassador Ted Osius’ official residence in the country’s capital of Hanoi.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome and consulates in the Italian cities of Milan, Florence and Naples are flying the rainbow flag for the first time. Deivis Ventura, a prominent LGBT activist in the Dominican Republic who ran for a seat in the lower house of the country’s Congress last month, raised the rainbow flag at gay Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster’s official residence in the country’s capital of Santo Domingo on Saturday.

The U.S. Consulate in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez has acknowledged Pride month for the first time by placing rainbow flags on the side of its building. The U.S. Embassy in Cuba marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17 by flying the rainbow flag.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel was illuminated in rainbow colors last week ahead of Tel Aviv’s annual Pride parade.

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer were among those who attended a reception at Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s home on June 1. Shapiro and members of his staff marched in the Tel Aviv Pride parade two days later with Beyer and other American activists who were in the country on a Jewish Federations of North America trip.

“Like so many of us on the trip, I was thrilled to be in Israel celebrating Pride, and yet also very proud to have my own country standing with us,” Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge, a group that seeks to build connections between LGBT Israelis and those who live in North America, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday in an email.

Randy Berry to take part in Ukraine Pride events

President Obama in 2011 issued a memorandum that directed agencies responsible for U.S. foreign policy to promote LGBT rights.

Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry has traveled to more than 40 countries since he assumed his post within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in April 2015. The career diplomat is scheduled to take part in Pride commemorations in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev later this month.

The U.S. Embassy in Australia posted a picture of Obama to its Twitter page on June 1 that contained a quote about LGBT rights.

The U.S. Embassy on Brazil tweeted a link to Obama’s Pride month proclamation on June 1. The U.S. Embassy in South Africa also acknowledged Pride month on its Twitter page.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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