While the annual ritual of filing one’s taxes might be fairly displeasing already, there is ample room for compounding the misery of this custom by bestowing tax revenue on controversial projects. So demonstrates the U.S. State Department in its newest stunt, by its approval of a grant of $20,600 to support Ecuadorian drag culture.
Part of this grant would go towards the funding of no fewer than 12 “drag theater performances.” The performances are to be held at the Abraham Lincoln North American Ecuadorian Center in Cuenca, which is its recipient.
As can be gleaned from the description, the relatively modest sum of $20,600 is to “promote diversity and inclusion.” Apart from the theater performances, it will also go towards hosting 3 workshops, as well as producing a 2-minute documentary. Precise details about the initiatives remain undisclosed.
As a condition, all of these projects—having already begun this year on September 30th—need to be completed by the end of August, 2023.
The State Department justifies the grant as part of a wider effort 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.”
As originally reported by ACI Prensa, the Catholic News Agency’s Spanish-language news partner, and translated by CNA, Alicia Boroto, director of the Abraham Lincoln North American Ecuadorian Center, told the outlet that her program seeks to provide a space for “cultural exchange and creative expression for adolescents and young adults to promote tolerance.”
She went on to state that the program is voluntary and “aimed at young people 15 years of age and older, with parental consent.”
Speaking to ACI Prensa, politician and former member of the country’s National Assembly Héctor Yépez had a less charitable interpretation, noting that “it seems to be an attack against the values of the great majority of Ecuadorians, and that the U. S. is practicing a ‘diplomacy of gender ideology.’”
He felt saddened that “the taxes of American families are wasted in perverting values of other countries, when rather we need to strengthen public safety during the worst crime crisis in Ecuador’s history.”
In April of this year, Ecuador’s president declared a state of emergency in three of the country’s provinces over a sharp rise in gang-related crime.
Martha Villafuerte, president of Familia Ecuador, a pro-life and pro-family organisation, rejected the U.S. donation, as she deemed it “irresponsible, unscrupulous, illogical, and inconsistent with all the bases of Ecuadorian culture.”
Pointedly, she noted the ‘quiet’ manner in which the contribution was made; likely, it was done thus because “they know that this will be rejected by Ecuadorian society, by the vast majority,” she added. She went on to call on parents to express their grievances on the [social media] page of the North American Ecuadorian Center and to “make a statement in person … perhaps through a demonstration.”
One doubts whether such schemes would enthuse the American taxpayer (those with socially conservative beliefs in particular). Public funding of prancing drag queens, a tough sell in even the best of times, might become even more so during an economic downturn, with its accompanying dwindled state budgets.
Some hope resides in Republican lawmakers who recently proposed a House GOP bill which would ban tax money being spent on drag queen shows. Should the midterm elections yield a GOP victory in the House if not the Senate (both not unlikely prospects), an expansion to make tax bans encompass foreign donations could follow.