The US government has banned most foreign art exhibitions from its airports, airports hubs, museums and other public venues after a US law that prevents countries from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday it would ban the exhibitions at its airports from the start of the month, the first such ban to take effect in the US in more than a decade.”DHS takes these actions to ensure the safety of our passengers, visitors, and visitors, as well as our local and international businesses and economic interests,” the agency said in a statement.
“The Department takes these decisions because we cannot ensure that all of our visitors will experience a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment at our international airports and other facilities.”
The US is the first country to ban all foreign art, music, films and other media on grounds of sexual discrimination.
The legislation, known as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law, passed in the 1990s, has been repeatedly challenged by human rights groups, artists and other stakeholders.
The Trump administration also announced Monday that it would also remove some of the country’s largest museums and art galleries from its list of US museums and galleries, a move that will affect the majority of American art and design exhibitions.
“We do not need to keep these institutions open to protect the rights of others,” a DHS spokesperson told the Associated Press.
The ban affects all American museums and cultural institutions that receive federal funding, including museums, galleries, galleries of visual arts and museums, the US Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The US Congress passed DADT in 2016, and many states have since followed suit, including California, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.
But the Trump administration has been less forthcoming about what its rationale is for the ban.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday it could not comment on the new DHS policy.
The law also requires the US government to enforce a federal law that prohibits the discrimination against LGBT people.
The US has a number of federal laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Violence Against Women Act and the Human Rights Act.
The new policy comes as more states have begun to pass legislation to allow transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, though it remains illegal in most of the US.