Amazon showed their support of the LGBTQ community this week. As of Thursday, March 11, the online retailer announced it would no longer be selling books that frame transgender and other sexual identities as mental illnesses.
The decision came on the heels of a complaint from Senators Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Mike Braun, and Josh Hawley to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, concerning the removal of a certain book from Amazon’s website. The book in question is When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson which came in 2018.
In the letter, the senators declare:
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.
In response to the Senators’ letter, Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy, explains:
As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. Amazon works hard to ensure customers have a great shopping experience, and access to the widest and most diverse cross-section of written and spoken word in retail today…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.
The senators’ reaction to Anderson’s book being pulled from Amazon’s storefront is the latest in the Republican Party’s outrage in what they call cancel culture. After Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the decision to end the publication of six books that contained racist and insensitive imagery last week, Donald Trump Jr. took to Fox News to air his grievances on ‘cancel culture.’
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