This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Granting $20,600 in U.S. taxpayer funds to a cultural center in Ecuador to host drag shows is an attempt to give LGBT people an outlet “to express themselves freely and safely” amid an alleged increase in violent attacks on that community, according to the U.S. State Department.
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital 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 funds were awarded Sept. 23 to the non-profit Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano for “drag theater performances” that will run through the end of August 2023. The money, according to a grant listing on USASpending.gov, will support “3 workshops,” “12 drag theater performances,” and a “2-minute documentary.”
The State Department spokesman said the program “uses the arts to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion.”
“The program’s goal is to promote tolerance, and the arts provide new opportunities for LGBTQI+ Ecuadorians to express themselves freely and safely,” the spokesman said.
“LGBTQI+ people across the globe deserve to live in societies free from targeted violence and discrimination.”
The State spokesman emphasized that, according to “recent data,” there’s “an alarming and deadly rise in violence against LGBTQI+ persons in Ecuador.”
“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.”