Amazon pulled a second book critical of transgender identity theory from its online store this week as it moves to silence one side of the debate over LGBT issues.
The online retailer has removed Maria Keffler’s “Desist, Detrans, & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult.” The newly released book had sold less than 100 copies across three platforms and had garnered less than a dozen Amazon reviews before it was pulled, according to Partners for Ethical Care (PEC). PEC noted that Amazon gave “no contact, no warning, no reason” before pulling the book.
PEC is a nonprofit group cofounded by Keffler and aimed at raising “awareness and support efforts to stop the unethical treatment of children by schools, hospitals, and mental and medical healthcare providers under the duplicitous banner of gender identity affirmation.” Keffler’s book is part of that effort.
Amazon has pulled at least one other book critical of transgender ideology: Ryan T. Anderson’s “When Harry Became Sally.” The online retailer banned Anderson’s book in February, the first apparent major action taken since revising its policy on books to crack down on “hate speech.” Titles such as “Mein Kampf” by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler are still available on the site.
The new policy applies to books that classify transgenderism and several other identities as mental illness, according to Brian Huseman, Amazon vice president of public policy.
“As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable,” Huseman told Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri in a March letter. The group of senators received the letter in response to questions over the retailer’s decision to pull Anderson’s book.
“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,” Huseman said. “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.”
Amazon is the most dominant book retailer in the United States, selling 53% of all physical books sold in the U.S. and 80% of all ebooks. In its response to the Republican senators, Amazon asserted that its change in book policy and tacitly endorsing one side of a public debate did not represent a wider bias or movement against conservative ideas.
Anderson ripped Amazon over its decision to deplatform his book, accusing the tech giant of attempting to stifle one side of an ongoing public debate.
“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,” Anderson said at the time. He went on to point out that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines gender dysphoria, which per the APA “refers to psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity,” as a mental illness.
“Gender dysphoria is listed in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which Amazon sells. So the real deciding factor seems to be whether you endorse hormones and surgery as the proper treatment or counseling,” he said.
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