Amazon has decided to stop selling books that cast lesbian, gay and transgender identities as mental illnesses.
The e-commerce titan revealed its decision in a letter to three Republican senators who cried foul last month over the removal of a conservative scholar’s book about transgender people.
The book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” was published in 2018 but recently disappeared from Amazon’s website, Kindle store and Audible audiobook platform.
“As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness,” Amazon executive Brian Huseman wrote in the Thursday letter to Sens. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee and Mike Braun, which was published by The Wall Street Journal.
Huseman was responding to the senators’ Feb. 24 letter demanding more details about Amazon’s decision to remove the book, which they said “openly signaled to conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms.”
They specifically asked why Amazon hosted the book for three years before yanking it and how the company determined that it contained “offensive content.”
The book by Ryan Anderson claims to reveal the “often sad reality” of living with gender dysphoria, the discomfort one experiences when their gender identity doesn’t match the sex they were assigned at birth.
It also features accounts from people who transitioned to a different gender as children but later regretted doing so, according to the book’s description.
Huseman indicated that Amazon changed its policy to prohibit books that cast LGBTQ identities as mental illnesses at some point between 2018 and this year, but he didn’t provide further details about the timeline or why the decision was made.
“We reserve the right not to sell certain content. All retailers make decisions about
what selection they choose to offer, as do we,” Huseman wrote, adding that Amazon offers “customers across the political spectrum a wide variety of content that includes
Anderson and his publisher slammed Amazon’s decision in a statement to the Journal, saying the company was “using its massive power to distort the marketplace of ideas and is deceiving its own customers in the process.”
“Everyone agrees that gender dysphoria is a serious condition that causes great suffering,” Anderson and Roger Kimball, publisher of Encounter Books, told the paper. “There is a debate, however, which Amazon is seeking to shut down, about how best to treat patients who experience gender dysphoria.”
Neither Amazon nor the senators who wrote to the company immediately responded to requests for comment Friday morning.