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Diplomacy in Drag?

U.S. Flag. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
An American flag waving on a pole in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Who would have thought we’d need a bill “To Ban U.S. Government From Funding Drag Queen Shows In Foreign Countries”?

Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) did, and with good reason.

At a time when inflation has forced belt-tightening in households across America, the State Department has seen fit to give a cultural center in Ecuador $20,600 to host “drag theater performances,” with the goal to “promote diversity and inclusion.” 

Biden’s State Department has supported programs, hoisted flags, and granted money all over the world in furtherance of its leftist social agenda. U.S. foreign aid, too, is increasingly tied to implementing this radical political agenda rather than alleviating global poverty.


The concerted effort to “queer” U.S. foreign policy is unprecedented.

The leftist political appointees now in charge at State and USAID are funding programs and cultural events that vast swathes of the American public find objectionable. 

While the State Department blithely funds drag shows in Ecuador, the issue is hotly debated here at home. In Taylor, Texas, for example, town officials voted to stop supporting the traditional Christmas parade, organized by religious ministers. Instead, they’re sponsoring a second parade so the town can accommodate a float featuring drag queens. It’s difficult to understand how such a display—featuring performer “Sedonya Face”—is appropriate for a family Christmas parade. 

Drag Goes Back Ages

Drag has a long history in mainstream comedy. Benny Hill and the Monty Python show used it as part of their acts more than fifty years ago. But like with Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, the joke was seeing middle-aged men dressed up as frumpy old women. Today, the type of drag to which progressives want to expose children is more burlesque, with risqué costumes, erotic dancing for tips, and stage names with X-rated double meanings.

Do we really need to sexualize Christmas “for the kids”?

Drag Story Time

Drag queen story hour has become a cause célèbre among progressive activists, but the arguments against spending public money to bring drag performers into libraries are simple. First, while it’s great to see adults volunteer to read to children, there is no reason for them to be dressed in caricature, sexualized costumes. This adds nothing to the learning or literary experience for the children and may distract them from the works being read. Second, the books chosen are often selected not on literary merit, but because they promote gender ideology. Promoting any political, religious, or sexual ideology in a taxpayer-funded library seems unnecessary – especially since there are so many great children’s books to read that touch on themes more in keeping with childhood.

What, then, is the argument supporting having grown men aping women, instead of normally dressed adults of any orientation, read aloud to kids? Surely hearing stories from drag queens, instead of librarians, parents, or teachers, does not make children better readers. It may show them how diverse human expression in presentation and dress can be, but is it the goal of progressives to show young children the entire variety of behavior (for example, bondage, kink) that humans engage in? Introduction to adult concepts needs to wait until it is age-appropriate. Parents are understandably outraged when they hear of schools attempting to foist sexual content on children too young to understand.  

Pronoun Agreement

Most people involved in the debates on values, particularly as they affect children, are motivated by the desire to protect the vulnerable. A divide has been created in American society, however, over the different ways we want to do it. Many progressives seem to have bought the far-left narrative that conservative parents are bigots, homophobes, and transphobes, who must be embarrassed. They push the envelope for that reason, for example by forcing teachers to use pronouns that they know to be grammatically and factually at odds with the person being addressed. 

For conservatives, it appears as if the entire point of ‘drag queen story hour’ and various sex and gender programs targeting elementary and even pre-schools is to expose children to – and normalize – lifestyles and practices that their parents would object to and that schools have no business advocating.  This is the ‘praxis’ of queer theory, the aim of which is the elimination of traditional morals and the universal acceptance of individual, selfish, solipsism beyond legal or moral challenge. 

Gender ideology is politically divisive because it is part of a well-thought-out strategy by ideologues to make ordinary Americans embrace falsehoods, like that people can be born in the wrong body; that children can’t express their identity any way they want without needing their “gender” corrected; or that anyone can really ‘transition’ through drugs or surgery to the opposite sex. 

This dogma is wrong, divisive, and should have no place in U.S. foreign policy.  

Opinion Contributor Biography: A former career foreign service officer, Simon Hankinson is a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. 

Written By

Simon Hankinson is a senior research fellow in the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation. From 1999–2023, he was a foreign service officer serving in India, Fiji, Ghana, Slovakia, Togo, Washington, D.C., Marseille, and Nairobi. Prior to entering the State Department, Hankinson worked as a lawyer in London where he taught history, English, and drama at a private school.