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U.S., Western Embassies Fly Gay Pride Flags in Moscow

The U.S. Embassy’s Twitter showed newly returned Ambassador John Sullivan hoisting the rainbow flag. Twitter / USEmbRu

The U.S., British and Canadian embassies in Russia on Friday hung rainbow flags on their buildings in Moscow in honor of LGBT Pride Month celebrated worldwide.

In a joint statement with colleagues from Australia, Iceland and New Zealand, the Western diplomats said the actions affirm the countries’ “commitment to protecting the human rights of all individuals, including #LGBTI+ persons.”

“Unfortunately, LGBTI+ individuals throughout the world continue to face violence, harassment and discrimination simply because of who they are,” the statement reads. “And law enforcement authorities often turn a blind eye to the hate speech and hate crimes that are still prevalent in many countries.”

The British Embassy tweeted a photo of its hanging rainbow flag, while the U.S. Embassy’s Twitter showed newly returned Ambassador John Sullivan hoisting the rainbow flag and the Canadian Embassy’s account showed diplomatic staff posing in front of theirs.

“No one should face violence or discrimination for being who they are,” the Canadian Embassy in Moscow tweeted.

The Kremlin, which last year decried the rainbow flag displays on embassy buildings as illegal under Russian law, has not yet commented on the LGBT flag sightings Friday.

Displays of the rainbow flag are uncommon in Russia, where “homosexual propaganda toward minors” was outlawed in 2013 and intolerant attitudes toward the LGBT community persist.

June 25 marks the 43th anniversary of the rainbow flag’s first appearance as a gay pride symbol at the 1978 Pride parade in San Francisco.

The U.S. has long been critical of Russia’s gay rights record.

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