US town considers banning all public art because some of it might be gay

Author: Ali Condon

New Hampshire Mural

A town in the US is genuinely considering a ban on all public art because some of the art might be gay or promote LGBTQ+ ideals.

Littleton, New Hampshire is a politically purple town – equal parts liberal and conservative.

In the 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden won almost the exact same number of votes.

However, as so-called culture wars escalate across the US, tensions are starting to rise in the bipartisan town.

It all started when a local councillor complained at a town meeting about a particular mural that had been funded by a number of local organisations.

The mural, which featured three pieces and was described in a local newspaper as a “diversity mural”, featured flowers, trees, a rainbow colour wheel, and a reference to defying book bans.

The titles of each piece were: “We will not be banned”, “We are Joy”, and “We Belong.”

Complaints from the three-person town council prompted town manager Jim Gleason to consider restricting certain works of art in public spaces.

Although it has not been confirmed what exactly the grounds would be for wanting to restrict certain public works of art, discussions heavily focused on art with LGBTQ+ themes, CBC News reports.

After investigating their legal options, the people of Littleton realised that it would be difficult to ban particular types of artwork from public spaces – after all, exclusively restricting LGBTQ+ artwork could breach constitutional law.

That leaves the town with few options. One that is genuinely being considered is to ban all public art.

On the potential of a full-blown public art ban, town manager Gleason said: “Their [the town council’s] decision is, ‘All right, does it bother you enough that you want to ban, then, all art?’”

“Or is it like, ‘OK, it bothers me, but I don’t want to get into a constitutional legal fight and spend taxpayers’ dollars and go through on this?’  That’s the decision they will have to make.”

One of the three town councilmembers who takes issue with murals like this is Carrie Gendreau, who is also a state senator for New Hampshire.

Gendreau first expressed her dislike of the mural back in August, stating that “what went up was not good… I don’t want that to be in our town.”

Gendreau, who has told the Boston Globe that “homosexuality is an abomination” and she is “very concerned” about the “demonic hidden messages” that are “creeping into [the] community” through public art, has faced heavy backlash from the people of Littleton.

In September, at least 200 people attended a board meeting to shut down Gendreau’s comments.

Local organisations remain concerned that their town could place a ban on public art as a whole.

Although Gleason acknowledges that the town councilmembers’ issues with public art are “really much deeper in reference to views about society and the LGBTQ community,” to meet their demands would mean banning artwork altogether.

“You can’t just restrict art that you don’t like,” he said.

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Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Ali Condon

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