Staffers at the U.S. Embassy will raise the rainbow flag of sexual diversity Wednesday to show support to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals, the embassy said in an announcement Thursday. The flag will fly for a month.
The event will be at 8:15 a.m. at the embassy in Pavas with the participation of Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney.
Intersex may be a term that is not familiar to many U.S. expats. The word refers to individuals who have sex characteristics, including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns, that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
This condition is known as hermaphrodism in animals but the use of that term to refer to humans is considered inappropriate now.
The U.S. State Department has been particularly sensitive to the rights of members of these groups.
Secretary of State John Kerry noted earlier this month that the embassies and consulates of the United States work closely with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual communities. The department even has appointed a special emissary for human rights, Randy Berry, to raise the issue with high officials of other governments, Kerry said.
The State Department emphasis of gay rights has been credited to Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State who is now the leading Democratic presidential candidate. However, the department has been criticized for its uneven condemnation of anti-gay laws in other countries. For example, little is said about the Saudi death penalty for homosexuality.