The U.S. State Department says it is important for American taxpayers to promote drag events in Ecuador because doing so brings “tolerance” and encourages Ecuadorians to “express themselves freely and safely.”
On Friday, The Free Press reported that the State Department gave a $20,600 grant to the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano, a nonprofit organization in Ecuador, to organize and host drag events. U.S. diplomats said little about the grant at the time.
But on Sunday, Newsmax reported that the State Department defended the grant as a tool to boost inclusion.
In September, an unidentified spokesperson told Newsmax, the State Department “awarded a grant to the Centro Cultural Ecuatoriano Norteamericano Abraham Lincoln, a U.S.-Ecuadorian cultural center in Cuenca, Ecuador, for a program that uses the arts to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion.”
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“The program’s goal is to promote tolerance, and the arts provide new opportunities for LGBTQI+ Ecuadorians to express themselves freely and safely.”
“Recent data suggest an alarming and deadly rise in violence against LGBTQI+ persons in Ecuador,” the spokesperson continued. “The program will advance key U.S. values of diversity and the inclusion of LGBTQI+ communities as well as promote the acceptance of communities that are disproportionately affected by violence.”
It’s unclear why the Ecuadorians can’t pay to promote their own drag shows.