Weeks after being confirmed as first secretary inside former President Donald Trump, Ryan Zinke relaunched an obscure military tradition, insisting that a member of security personnel raise and lower a special secretariat flag above the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC, whenever Zinke entered or exited the building.
Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s Home Secretary, has taken a much more inclusive approach. On Monday, Haaland went to the roof of the building to raise a Pride of Progress flag to mark LGBTQ pride month. It is the first pride flag to fly above the agency’s headquarters.
“The Home Office is committed to telling America’s rich and diverse history and uplifting underrepresented people and communities,” Haaland said in a statement. “Despite many hard-fought victories, there is still a long way to go to ensure the full liberation, peace and equality of the LGBTQ + community.”
The flag “features black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ + communities of color, as well as the colors pink, light blue and white, which are used on the transgender pride flag,” Interior noted in its announcement.
Haaland took over the agency from a Trump administration that has repeatedly sought to undermine LGBTQ equality.
In 2019, for example, Home Affairs officials removed the words ‘sexual orientation’ from anti-discrimination language in the agency’s ethics guide, like HuffPost. reported. At the time, the agency dismissed the change as a “non-story,” noting that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the term “sex” covers sexual orientation and l ‘gender identity – a puzzling explanation, given that the administration had recently does exactly the opposite argument before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Dozens of conservation organizations signed a letter demanding that then Home Secretary David Bernhardt, who succeeded Zinke as head of the agency under Trump, restore the language. The groups argued that removing the language “would have a chilling effect on LGBTQ people applying for jobs at DOI and it would betray current Home Office employees.”
The Home Office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request whether the old directive had been restored.
“Justice and equality for LGBTQ + people is more than just a political issue for me; it’s personal, ”Haaland said in his statement Monday. “I am fully committed to making the Home Office a leader on inclusion and equity and ensuring that our decisions are informed and focused on the voices of a diverse American audience.”
Biden issued an official proclamation on June 1 recognizing June as Pride Month – something Trump never done – and worked for reverse a number of anti-LGBTQ policies of the previous administration, including banning transgender people from serving in the military.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost