Amazon Responds to Indignant GOP Senators Over Removal of Anti-Trans Book

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday March 12, 2021

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos  (Source:AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Amazon said it has pulled a book from its platform that "frames LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness," The Daily Mail reports.

In a letter to congress on Thursday, the online retail magnate responded to GOP Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, all of whom have decried the move as yet another example of liberal cancel culture. The Senators bemoan Amazon "openly signaling to conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms" with the company's removal of "When Harry Became Sally," by Ryan T. Anderson.

The book, which was released three years ago, challenges "our transgender moment" and cautions that Americans need "a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong." While Anderson writes in the book that "we need to respect the dignity of people who identify as transgender," he also appears to intentionally misgender trans celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner.

"We have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness," Amazon responded in the Senators' letter and reminded them that "we reserve the right not to sell certain content. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, as do we."

For his part, Anderson appears to be upset, saying Amazon "never read my book, but relied on hit pieces." Asserting that he himself never calls transgender individuals mentally ill in his book, Anderson then engaged in a predictable what-about-ism, saying the gender dysphoria he discusses in his book is also "listed in the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which Amazon sells. So the real deciding factor seems to be whether you endorse hormones and surgery as the proper treatment or counseling."

In a joint statement with his publisher, Encounter Books, Anderson complains that "no good comes from shutting down a debate about important matters on which reasonable people of good will disagree." But is it "reasonable" when "people of good will" refuse to acknowledge the full humanity of LGBTQ people?

Amazon says no, and that their terms of service "are designed to prevent encouraging and inciting violence that could harm people." Last year, 44 individuals were murdered because they were transgender or gender non-conforming — many of the victims were Black transgender women.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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