The European Union spent almost €1 million funding drag queen shows and other diversity projects aimed at "blurring" traditional gender roles, The Telegraph can disclose.
The bloc’s taxpayers’ stumped up some €892,050 to help finance the schemes, which promised to tackle issues such as “toxic masculinity'' and to establish LGBT-friendly schools across the Continent.
The battle over woke ideology has become a key political divide between the EU's founding members and the nationalist governments in central and eastern Europe.
The cultural split has left Hungary and Poland at loggerheads with the European Commission and Western member states, prompting fears in Budapest and Warsaw their EU funding could be cut in the row over conservative policies on LGBT rights and abortion.
The revelation over the spending prompted accusations that Brussels is “hell-bent on pursuing a woke agenda”.
'Drag it Up'
One workshop, called “Drag it Up”, said it would help young men learn about “make-up, wigs, walking in high heels and other methods of blurring and exaggerating traditional binary gender roles”.
Berlin-based drag act Queen of Virginity, who has more than 7,000 social media followers, secured €21,700 from the EU to host the sessions.
Videos posted on his Instagram account showed participants learning dance moves, taking acting classes and teaching them to become “divas”.
In another year-long youth exchange scheme, organisers put on drag shows with volunteers to help raise awareness of same-sex marriage, adoption and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Participants will become more aware of the LGBT+ issues, will become more tolerant towards LGBT+ people, will be more aware of their own role in LGBT+ tolerance, will be more sure and secure in their own gender or sexuality, will have less anxiety and will feel more confident and healthier,” organiser TransYouth said.
Queer History Matters invited 20 “young queer people” to Berlin to take part in a drag show to help them “learn and experience discussions, theatre, body exercises, empathy exercises”.
Nicolaus Fest, a German MEP, said: “By fluttering away taxpayers’ cash on lipstick lessons and lacy lingerie for men, the EU is displaying that it’s hell-bent on pursuing a woke agenda whatever the cost.
“This waste is another instalment in the EU’s ongoing culture war series, with this episode perhaps most appropriately labelled as the Battle of the Bulge.
“Such nonsense makes you want to check the date and hope it’s April Fools’ Day, but unfortunately this is the tragic reality.”
Students study abroad
The programmes were funded as part of the EU's Erasmus+ exchange scheme that sends students to study abroad and pays for their fees.
Under the programme, one group was handed €434,000 to offer advice on building "LGBT+ friendly schools across Europe".
The All Inc!, which participates with the University of Derby in the UK, is drawing up a "vision" for the schools because of a "sharp rise in anti-LGBTI hate speech carried out by public figures across Europe".
The group's online funding notice targeted Poland, where the government was heavily criticised for the introduction of anti-LGBT zones.
Another youth project, "Reacting to toxic masculinity", used €14,000 to teach people how "some men act in destructive ways based on gender roles they feel like they need to fulfil".
They promised to create "gender safe spaces" where asking the pronoun of everyone is "not the main focus".