Amazon said it will no longer sell books that frame homosexuality, transgender and other sexual identities as mental illnesses, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, and Mike Braun asked the company to explain its decision to remove the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” from its 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,” the company said in a letter to the senators signed by Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy.
Publisher criticizes decision:
The book was written by conservative scholar Ryan T. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation fellow.
“Everyone agrees that gender dysphoria is a serious condition that causes great suffering,” Anderson and Roger Kimball, Anderson’s publisher, said in a statement.
“There is a debate, however, which Amazon is seeking to shut down, about how best to treat patients who experience gender dysphoria,” the statement said, describing the books as “an important contribution” to that conversation.
“Amazon is using its massive power to distort the marketplace of ideas and is deceiving its own customers in the process,” the statement said.
GOP accuses Amazon of censorship:
The Republican senators accused the retail giant of censoring conservatives in their letter last week.
"In its decision to remove Mr. Anderson’s book from its platforms, Amazon has openly signaled to conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms. Amazon’s shortsighted censorship of this well-researched and thoughtful contribution to modern American discourse is not just a decision made in poor taste, but an assault on free speech that carries weighty implications for the future of open discourse in the digital age," they said in a statement.
But critics say Anderson repeatedly dead-names certain transgender individuals and relies on experts from anti-LGBTQ organizations.
“As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content as described in our content guidelines for books, which you can find here. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, and we do not take selection decisions lightly," an Amazon spokesperson said last week.