With the launch of the WorldPride festival coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn later this week, it's likely that tens of thousands of people will stop by the Stonewall National Monument (which includes the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park across the street) to pay tribute to the bar's legacy this weekend. And while there, they'll see the iconic LGBT pride flag on display just on the eastern tip of the landmarked national park. But it seems the Trump administration was not so keen on the pride flag appearing on federal property, to the point that they gifted the flag to the NYC Parks Department so they wouldn't have to deal with it.

This information came out thanks to 992 pages of emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to E&E News. Although President Obama designated the park and bar a national monument in 2016, it took until the fall of 2017 for the pride flag to be officially put up. It was a big moment in LGBTQ history—the first time a pride flag would be permanently raised on federal land.

The only problem was that Trump administration officials freaked out behind-the-scenes upon learning of the flag, sending emails to National Park Service officials questioning why it was happening. They then frantically moved to distance themselves from the whole thing.

"Can you please get details from NPS and report back?" Todd Willens, who was an assistant deputy secretary and is now the chief of staff to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, wrote in one of the emails after learning about the flag's planned placement. Five days before the flag was set to be honored with an official ceremony, Willens ordered the flag removed.

As seen in the emails, officials were aware and concerned about how this would be perceived in the LGBTQ community: "We did determine that while the flag pole is in the authorized boundary, the US Government does not own the land on which the flag pole sits. Todd instructed us to remove all flags—U.S., NPS, the POW-MIA and pride flags—from the pole tonight,” Bob Vogel, who was then-National Park Service acting deputy director, wrote in an email to Mike Reynolds, then-NPS acting director. "He was OK with us donating all flags except NPS to the city... Needless to say there is significant concern on how this will transpire with the community."

What happened next is even more confusing: the NPS gifted the flagpole and flag to the NYC Parks Department...who were allowed to put up the flag in the park. As E&E wrote:

In the end, NPS and Interior officials had it both ways: The rainbow flag that signifies gay pride would fly at Stonewall, but on a flagpole deemed not on federal property, even though it's inside the monument's boundary lines and the park's own superintendent assumed it was owned by the federal government. The NPS disposed of the flag by donating it to the New York parks department, which now owns both the flagpole and the flag.

NPS officials were also sent a series of talking points to use if asked about the flag: "The flag pole is not on federal property, nor is it managed by the National Park Service. The park raised the flag as a part of a good-faith effort to respond to community interest. When it was determined that the flagpole is not on federal property, the flag was given to New York City Parks." (You can see this statement in October 2017 stories from Gay City News and Newsweek .)

The confusion around the talking points, who controlled the flag, and whether it was or wasn't on federal land by being in a landmarked park extended to Minerva Anderson, chief of communications for the National Parks of New York Harbor, as seen in the exasperated email below:

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The subject of the email was "Re: Trump terminates support for National Park Service RainbowFlag ceremony at Stonewall"

Ken Kidd, an events organizer and a longtime activist who spent months negotiating the details of the 2017 ceremony with local Park Service officials, told E&E the emails expose just how hard the Trump administration worked to distance itself from the LGBTQ community: "The feds were washing their hands of the whole project — it was crazy town; it was shocking," he said.

Activist Michael Petrelis, who had requested that a rainbow flag be flown over the park in 2017, agreed with him that the tone of the discussion changed once the Trump officials got involved. "The first thing that stood out was the absence of substantive information about what the controversy was about," Petrelis told E&E. "It was clear to me as longtime government transparency advocate that these were professional bureaucrats who knew not to memorialize in writing their substantive discussions."

You can read all the emails here, and more from E&E here. Oh, and earlier this month the Trump administration told embassies they couldn't fly pride flags... but that isn't stopping some of them: