A State Department initiative offers $5 million in taxpayer funds to be divided among qualifying LGBT organizations across the world.
The State Department’s $25 million Global Equality Fund invited projects led or supported by LGBT organizations and communities to apply by March 1 to win awards between $750,000 and $1.5 million.
The agency will allocate a total of $5 million among three to six awardees, a State Department spokesperson told The Daily Signal on Monday.
Organizations and activists in foreign countries were eligible to apply. Awardees may use the $750,000 to $1.5 million to fulfill the “strategic framework” of the Global Equality Fund. This framework includes projects that “empower” local LGBT movements, prevent “violence, discrimination, stigma, and human rights abuses” against LGBT individuals, promote “full social inclusion” for them, and address “critical issues of justice.”
Simon Hankinson, senior research fellow on border security and immigration at The Heritage Foundation, said the State Department is departing from its intended purpose with the global LGBT fund. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
“The State Department exists to promote U.S. interests and values abroad, including tolerance for diverse beliefs,” Hankinson told The Daily Signal. “America should always speak out against persecution of people based on their immutable characteristics, politics, or faith.”
“But trying to impose dogmas that are highly contentious domestically, like radical gender ideology and various branches of ‘critical theory,’ will be seen as impertinent at best and cultural colonialism at worst,” he said.
The Global Equality Fund is “dedicated to advancing and defending the human rights and fundamental freedoms” of LGBT people around the world, according to a webpage about the fund on the State Department’s website.
State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor manages the global LGBT fund with the support of foreign governments, businesses, and foundations, including the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBT rights organizations.
Congress appropriated $25 million for the Global Equality Fund for fiscal year 2023 as part of the budget law that took effect at the end of December.
The upcoming LGBT-related grants aren’t new at the State Department. In 2021, the Global Equality Fund offered up to $1 million to LGBT “empowerment” projects in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Applications currently are being accepted for a grant of up to $1 million from the fund to cover research on LGBT refugees.
The State Department has a recent history of pushing a woke agenda abroad. The U.S. Embassy in Botswana publicized a grant opportunity for $300,000 “to support LGBTQIA+ groups to inform Botswana’s population of the landmark 2021 decision decriminalizing same-sex relations.”
The state also has funded “diversity and inclusion” training for police forces in Latin America, although law enforcement there is more in need of modern police methods and training.
When asked last week about who will receive the latest grants, a State Department spokesperson said projects funded by the Global Equality Fund are “solicited, reviewed, and awarded” under U.S. regulations.
According to the webpage for the LGBT fund, strong proposals for funding will be guided by COVID-19 response, gender and inclusion analysis, and “LGBTQI+ organizations.” The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately harmed LGBT individuals, the webpage claims.
The announcement of the funding opportunities says that proposals should “address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LGBTQI+ persons and people of other marginalized communities, particularly those who experience multiple forms of marginalization at the intersection of these identities.”
A “strong gender analysis” of the needs of women and those who identify as women is another feature of a project likely to win funding, the announcement says.
“Programs should have strong support from and participation by lesbian and bisexual women, transgender and intersex individuals, and other gender diverse persons and should support development of the leadership and capacity of these communities,” it says.
Qualifying programs also must adhere to a stated principle of “Nothing about us without us” regarding LGBT individuals.
Funding may be used to “affirm” LGBT people through restricting “conversion therapy,” implementing strategies to help LGBT individuals acquire custody of children, and enacting “laws or regulations supporting legal gender recognition based on self-determination.”
The webpage’s other examples of recommended projects include those that strengthen “effective lesbian and queer women’s leadership,” increase “acceptance and tolerance of LGBTQI+ persons from family members,” and promote LGBT inclusion in public policy. Projects also should improve the “visibility” of “marginalized” LGBT individuals, it says.
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