A drag queen story hour for children that was reportedly supposed to be held at an American air base library was canceled following public outcry about the nature of the event.
The 30-minute storytime with books read by drag queen Stacey Teed was to be held at a library in Ramstein, Germany, where the headquarters of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe is located.
“An advertisement was posted to the base library social media page before the event had completed Ramstein’s established processes for special observance coordination and approval,” Lt. Col. Will Powell, head of public affairs for the 86th Airlift Wing, said, according to The Military Times. “The advertisement has been removed and the event will not take place.”
The cancellation followed backlash from Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall on May 26, asking officials to stop the event.
“I urge you to immediately cancel this politically divisive event, and take appropriate disciplinary action against all involved in allowing this gross abuse of taxpayer funding to place children in a sexualized environment,” Rubio wrote in his letter.
He added that it was “insane” for the military to be using resources to promote the event.
“These inappropriate events are extremely divisive at home for good reason; in all cases, they place young children in close proximity with adults who are intentionally and explicitly sexualized,” the senator added.
He also asked for details about other instances of the U.S. military sponsoring events for children with drag queens and if money has been spent on such events.
The original Facebook post announced that the Ramstein Library was “celebrating Pride Month” by hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour. It added that attendees should “wear your brightest and most colorful outfits!”
In his statement following the cancelation of the event, Powell added that the leadership of Ramstein was still devoted to promoting inclusivity on the base.
“Ramstein leaders strive to foster a culture based on inclusion where all people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their political views, color of their skin or sexual orientation,” he said. “The base’s established processes will ensure all future special observance events are properly reviewed and approved prior to advertisement.”
He noted that other Pride events were in the works for June that would be supported by Ramstein base administration.