- The Washington Times - Friday, October 21, 2022

The Biden administration is funding overseas drag shows with taxpayer dollars as part of a global cultural outreach program, a recent financial disclosure has revealed.

The State Department has awarded a nearly $21,000 grant to Ecuador’s Abraham Lincoln North American Cultural Center to host 12 drag theater performances designed to “promote diversity and inclusion,” according to an agency filing.

The $20,600 award is part of a program designed to “support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world,” according to the State Department filing.

The project grant was funded on Sept. 30 and runs through August of next year. The grant is being administered by the office of the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

The grant, first reported by Fox News, has ignited a firestorm on Twitter. The grant itself was listed as required by law by the State Department at USASpending.gov.

“Of all the ways we spend money through the State Department, this has to be the dumbest idea possible,” one user wrote. “Keep drag shows in bars where they belong.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, has called for cuts to the State Department budget over the grants.

“Note to self: the Department of State has excess funds that need to be cut next year,” she wrote on Twitter.

The goal of the program is to “promote tolerance” and “provide new opportunities for LGBTQI+ Ecuadorians to express themselves freely and safely,” the State Department told the Washington Examiner.

The abbreviation LGBTQI+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people.

“LGBTQI+ people across the globe deserve to live in societies free from targeted violence and discrimination. Recent data suggest an alarming and deadly rise in violence against LGBTQI+ persons in Ecuador,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Austin Ruse, the president of the conservative Center for Family and Human Rights, called the grant “an inappropriate use of American taxpayer money.”

“A cursory look at the books would likely show this is far from the only program like this that we fund,” Mr. Ruse told the Examiner. “Joe Biden seems determined to export and impose the sexual revolution on the rest of the world.”

“Ask anyone on the ground in Ecuador or any other country that receives our aid and you will find they need basic things like clean water, safe sanitation, basic medical care, and not such things as drag shows,” he concluded.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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