A US Air Force base in Germany, previously forced to cancel a drag event, hosted a “Pride” themed story hour for children in the installation’s library.
Ramstein Air Base held the event, which it dubbed “Reading with PRIDE,” on June 15, with its official Facebook page posting photos and boasting of volunteers reading books to children in honor of Pride Month that “focused on inclusion.”
Photos from the event show the volunteers reading books to children in a room decorated in rainbow colors, including a table with a sign informing children that the area is a “safe space.”
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A sign promotes the “Read with PRIDE” event for children at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as a “safe space.” (Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner/US Air Force)
The event comes just weeks after the same base found itself at the center of controversy over the planned “Drag Queen Storytime” children’s event that was due to take place earlier this month, but was canceled due to new Department of Defense guidelines prohibiting drag shows on forbade. military base.
“We celebrate Pride Month at the Ramstein Library with Drag Queen Storytime,” read a promotion for the event on the base Facebook page that was later removed, according to a report from Military.com. “Be sure to wear your brightest and most colorful outfits!”
The directive to ban drag shows on military installations this month came from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in response to multiple lawmakers raising concerns about a number of shows being planned at bases both inside and outside the continental United States.
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The apparent spread of such events was the focus of the questioning of Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., at a House Armed Services Committee hearing in March, at which the two military leaders appeared surprised that such shows took place.
Volunteers at the Ramstein Air Base “Read with PRIDE” event read books to children. (Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner/US Air Force)
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“I’d like to see those for myself to find out what’s really going on there because that’s the first time I’m hearing about that sort of thing,” Milley said. “I’d like to see those, because I don’t agree with that. I think those things shouldn’t happen.”
The event also comes amid a military recruiting crisis that some critics say is at least in part because the military has shifted in recent years to a focus on “woke” policies, leaving much of the country that would otherwise be interested in serving .
But in interviews with reporters this month, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth argued that the military was not “waking up,” accusing its critics of contributing to the crisis themselves.
Decorations in the Ramstein Air Base library for the children’s “Read with PRIDE” event. (Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner/US Air Force)
“I think the more our military leaders are dragged into spaces that are so politicized, the more it contributes to the perception that they are political when in reality they are not,” Wormuth said. “So I hope we don’t see more of the kind of talk that’s been going around for the past few days.”
Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, Ramstein Air Base leadership said the event was a “order-approved event intended to further our progress toward a respectful and inclusive culture,” but stressed participation was “strictly voluntary.” and was conducted in accordance with DoD direction.”
“Ultimately, all events held at Ramstein AB are aimed at fostering an environment where all our members and families can thrive and feel valued as part of our team, as we confidently continue to deliver on our no-fail mission,” continued the statement. “As Secretary Austin previously stated during Congressional testimony, we do not host drag events at Ramstein AB facilities, and this event was consistent with that.”
Michael Lee is a writer at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee