American e-commerce giant Amazon informed the Republican senators on Thursday that it will no longer sale any form of literature that still refers to LGBTQ identities as a mental illness.
The decision was made in response to an incident that happened back in 2018 when Amazon decided to remove a book from their store because their site no longer sells literature framing LGBTQ identities as mental illnesses, The Wall Street Journal reported.
This came as a response to a letter asking why people couldn’t turn to Amazon, Kindle or Audible for print, e-book or audiobook versions of Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.
According to Cnet, the book explores the media depiction of gender identity, as well as public policy approaches to the issue which has faced a lot of backlash from the LGBTQ community.
“We carefully consider the content we make available in our stores, and we review our approach regularly,” wrote Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy. “We have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.”
In their letter, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri said Amazon’s move told “conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms,” the Journal reported.
Huseman said Amazon offers people “a wide variety of content that includes disparate opinions.”
Anderson said Amazon is hampering the exchange of ideas. “No good comes from shutting down a debate about important matters on which reasonable people of good will disagree,” the author wrote in a statement.
“Everyone agrees that gender dysphoria is a serious condition that causes great suffering. There is a debate, however, which Amazon is seeking to shut down, about how best to treat patients who experience gender dysphoria. When Harry Became Sally is an important contribution, praised by medical experts, to that conversation.
“Amazon is using its massive power to distort the marketplace of ideas and is deceiving its own customers in the process.” Said Anderson.
Amazon to stop selling literature that identifies LGBTQ identities as a form of mental illness
Encounter Books, which is the distributor behind the When Harry Became Sally book sees Amazon’s move as a way of discouraging people from sharing opinions about serious issues that affect society.
According to the publisher, ‘Encounter Books is committed to publishing authors with differing views on a wide range of issues of public concern. We do this because a free society requires robust debate and spaces where dissenting opinions can be expressed unimpeded.”
“If Amazon, which controls most of the book sales in America, has decided to delist a book with which some of its functionaries disagree, that is an unconscionable assault on free speech. It will have a chilling effect on the publishing industry and the free circulation of ideas. It must not be left to stand unchallenged.”
Who knows, very soon we might see publishers beginning to ban books or any form of literature that talks about the enslavement of black people or even something else that seems to gather robust debate in society.
Amazon declined to add further comment on the issues and has since remained silent.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.