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US State Department issues rare ‘worldwide’ security alert for Pride

The US has warned of "increased potential" for terrorism and violence against LGBTQs this Pride season

By Jamie Tabberer

A Pride-goers in a street with rainbow and trans flags
(Image: Pixabay)

The US State Department has issued a rare security alert for Pride, citing potential for ‘terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against US citizens and interests.’

The federal executive department, responsible for international relations and diplomacy, issued the worldwide safety advisory earlier this month, ahead of Pride season.

The warning follows a similar joint public service announcement issued on 10 May by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons”

Shared to the official Bureau of Consular Affairs website earlier this month, the most recent warning states: ‘Due to the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against US citizens and interests, the Department of State advises US citizens overseas to exercise increased caution. The Department of State is aware of the increased potential for foreign terrorist organisation-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events and advises US citizens overseas to exercise increased caution. 

‘US citizens should: stay alert in locations frequented by tourists, including Pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency overseas [and] follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.’

In their earlier statement, the FBI and DHS said: “Foreign terrorist organisations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month.

“FTO [foreign terrorist organisations] efforts to commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride celebrations or LGBTQIA+-related venues, are compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other western countries.”

No specific events or venues were mentioned in either of the warnings.

“It is no surprise that neo-Nazis and jihadis often express mutual admiration for their shared anti-gay visions,” Mark D Wallace, chief executive of the Counter Extremism Project, said in a statement.

The warnings come eight years after gunman Omar Sateen shot dead 49 people at Orlando gay club Pulse during Pride month in 2016.