State Department defends grant to Ecuador cultural center to host drag theater performances

The grant is for $20,600 for a a cultural center in Ecuador to host drag theater performances.

Updated: October 24, 2022 - 8:35am

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The State Department is defending a $20,600 grant for a cultural center in Ecuador to host drag theater performances.

The department awarded the grant on Sept. 23 to the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano, a non-profit organization supported by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador, to "promote diversity and inclusion" in the region, Fox News Digital recently reported

The news outlet reported Sunday that a department spokesperson said the grant is part of "a wide range of strategic programs in Ecuador that incorporate concepts from diversity, inclusion, and representation to equity and accessibility."

The program started on Sept. 30 and runs until through August 2023 and will include three workshops, 12 drag theater performances and a two-minute documentary, according to the news outlet’s review of the department's grant listed on USASpending.gov.

Conservatives and others in the U.S. have increasingly raised concerns about drag performers – typically men in women's attire – performing in elementary schools. However, it's unclear whether the program in Ecuador will be open to children.

The spokesperson also said the program's goal is to "promote tolerance, and the arts provide new opportunities for LGBTQI+ Ecuadorians to express themselves freely and safely."