For the second time, Amazon has quietly pulled a book critical of transgender identity theory from its online store this week in an apparent effort to silence one side of the debate over LGBT issues.
The online mega-retailer removed Maria Keffler’s Desist, Detrans, & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult. The recently released book had sold less than 100 copies across three platforms and had garnered less than a dozen Amazon reviews prior to it being 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 directed 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 text is just one dimension of this effort.
Amazon 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 back in February—the first major action taken since revising its policy on books in an effort to crack down on “hate speech.” Titles such as Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler are still available on the site.
Last summer, Amazon banned ads promoting another book critical of transgender ideology, Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, according to Fox News.
The new policy applies to books that classify transgenderism and several other identities as mental illnesses, 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 letter released in March. The senators received the letter in response to questions over the retailer’s decision to pull Anderson’s book, thus taking a stand on one side of the political issue.
“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, eating up 53 percent of the physical book market in the U.S. and 80 percent of all e-books. In its response to the Republican senators, Amazon suggested that its change in book policy and tacitly endorsing one side of the public debate did not accurately represent a wider bias or movement against conservative ideas.
Anderson ripped Amazon over its decision to deplatform his book, accusing the tech juggernaut 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 stated at the time. He said 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.