Amazon stops selling books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness
Seattle, Washington - Amazon has revealed its decision to discontinue selling books that frame LGBTQ+ identities as mental illnesses. The decision comes as Republican politicians expressed outrage after the company pulled one such title.
The tech and retail giant made the announcement public in a letter issued to Republican senators who had complained to CEO Jeff Bezos after Amazon stopped selling When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, a book by the conservative academic Ryan Anderson.
The book pushes an anti-trans agenda and has been erased from all Amazon platforms, including Kindle and Audible.
Right-wing senators Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Mike Braun, and Josh Hawley have criticized the CEO's decision, calling it a sign "to conservative Americans that their views are not welcome" on Amazon. But the company fought back in a letter which was first obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
"As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable," it read.
"That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, as do we. 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."
Advocacy groups welcome Amazon's decision
Amazon currently accounts for 53% of all books sold in the US, so it's safe to assume the decision will lead to a significant drop in sales of books that describe LGTBQ+ identities as mental illnesses.
The decision also comes after multiple Republican-led states have introduced bills targeting trans people's rights, especially in school sports.
A spokesperson for LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD applauded Amazon’s decision,
"There’s an antiquated and shameful history of equating LGBTQ identity to mental illness, and Amazon’s decision to stop selling books that falsely equate the two is a positive step in ending the misinformation campaign against LGBTQ people, especially trans youth, meant only to cause harm," they said.
The advocacy group also called Anderson’s book "dangerous and harmful" to trans kids, and said that those who are looking for information about trans identity should not turn to resources written by someone who has made their livelihood by publishing books against the trans community.
Cover photo: IMAGO / UPI Photo