Adopting the theme "WELCO-ME" for 2023, the CIA explained the acronym to signify "Wellness," "Equity," "LGBTQ+," "Community," "Openness," and "ME!".
In a social media post, the agency acknowledged the month as a tribute to the "rich history, community, and mission contributions" of its LGBTQ+ officers. However, this open support sparked many reactions, particularly from conservative commentators and politicians.
J.D. Vance, a Republican Senator from Ohio, expressed disbelief at the agency's stance, tweeting, "Can't believe this is real." Virginia's Republican Representative Bob Good suggested that America's national security isn't at the top of the Biden Administration's priorities. Tech tycoon Elon Musk humorously questioned the agency's newly found transparency, jesting, "I thought the CIA liked being the closet lol."
Donald Trump Jr., reacting to the CIA's post, asked, "How is this not a parody account???" Political commentator Ben Shapiro deemed the situation "wildly dystopian." Fox News host Laura Ingraham labeled the CIA a "woke spa" rather than a protective agency against foreign infiltration.
The social media account Chicks On The Right condemned the post: "Thanks for continuing to show why Americans should have NO FAITH WHATSOEVER in your ability to do your Actual Jobs. What absolutely pointless, frivolous, nonsense propaganda. Our enemies have to be absolutely LOLing at this."
It's important to note that the CIA isn't the only governmental entity voicing support for the LGBTQ+ community. The FBI has made posts recognizing Pride Month, while President Joe Biden has annually issued Pride Month proclamations since assuming office.
Agencies like the Department of Energy, Education, and Agriculture currently feature pro-LGBT rainbow flag designs alongside their logos on social media profiles. The Justice and Transportation Departments have also publicly celebrated Pride Month.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, reflecting on the significant change in military policy under the Biden Administration, expressed, "In 2021, I was honored to implement President Biden's directive to ensure that transgender Americans who wish to serve and meet Department standards are able to do so — openly and free from discrimination."