US Government Warns of Threat of Global Pride Month Terror Attacks


The Rainbow Pride Flag flying alongside the American flag over the US Consulate General in Johannesburg to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Biphobia in 2021 (Photo: US Embassy South Africa)

Several branches of the US government have warned that Pride events around the world may come under attack during international Pride Month, which is celebrated in June.

On 17 May, the US State Department issued a “worldwide caution” travel advisory, warning American citizens overseas to exercise increased caution due to the threat of possible attacks against the LGBTQ+ community.

“The Department of State is aware of the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events and advises US citizens overseas to exercise increased caution,” stated the department.

It urged US citizens to “stay alert in locations frequented by tourists, including Pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons.”

Earlier, on 10 May, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also issued a similar warning, focusing on Pride events in the US itself.

“Foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month,” the agencies said.

They noted that in June 2016, while patrons were celebrating Latin Night at the Orlando, Florida LGBTQ+ nightclub Pulse, 29-year-old Omar Mateen burst into the venue and opened fire on the crowd.

A total of 49 LGBTQ+ people and their friends were killed, and more than 50 were injured. After a three-hour standoff with the police, Mateen was shot dead by officers who forced their way into the club.

While the ultimate motive behind the shooting is still not known, the incident is said to be the single biggest massacre of LGBTQ+ people in American history.

In 2022, the Johannesburg Pride event was put in doubt after the US Embassy in South Africa issued a security alert warning of a possible terror attack in the area on the same day when Johannesburg Pride was set to take place.

In the spirit of the defiant Pride movement, the Johannesburg Pride organisers chose to hold the parade as planned, under the slogan #WeWillMarch. Thankfully, the event went ahead without incident.

Pride Month is celebrated in June in the US and many other countries around the world to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Riots, which were sparked by police raids on a popular LGBTQ+ bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn.

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