Amazon removes scholar's trans-critical book as Equality Act to be voted on in US House 

Amazon | Reuters/Mike Segar

Online retailer Amazon has removed scholar Ryan Anderson's book critiquing the transgender movement in its latest move suppressing conservative thought on LGBT issues. 

Anderson, formerly a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, is the new president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His 2018 book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, explores the meaning of human embodiment and public policy considerations related to transgender issues.

Ryan Anderson speaks at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion on the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling in Washington, D.C. on June 30, 2015. | The Christian Post/Samuel Smith

He only found out about the removal of his book from the world’s largest retailer after he was told that people were trying to purchase it and that it disappeared. 

It is not out of stock. Even the pages to purchase used copies have been taken down. It is also not possible to purchase the Kindle or Audible versions of the book on the website. The Christian Post confirmed that the pages are gone. 

In an email to CP Monday, Anderson said that when his book was released three years ago, it was criticized twice on the New York Times editorial page. He said The Washington Post also ran a hit piece on the book and subsequently rewrote the article to fix all the errors.

"It's obvious the critics hadn’t read the book," Anderson said. 

"People who have actually read my book discovered that it was a thoughtful and accessible presentation of the state of the scientific, medical, philosophical and legal debates,” Anderson argues. “Yes, it advances an argument from a certain viewpoint. No, it didn’t get any facts wrong, and it didn’t engage in any name-calling.”

He noted that the book earned praise from prominent medical experts and legal scholars.   

Yet none of that matters anymore, he continued, nor does it matter how arguments are framed and presented. All that seems to matter, Anderson suggests, is whether one dissents from the new sexual orthodoxy. 

"Three years after publication, in the very same week that the House of Representatives is going to ram through a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Amazon erases my book opposing gender ideology from their cyber shelves,” he explained. “Make no mistake, both Big Government and Big Tech can undermine human dignity and liberty, human flourishing and the common good."

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote this week on the Equality Act, legislation backed by President Joe Biden that would codify sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under civil rights law. 

Anderson told CP that his publisher reached out for an explanation and has not received a response. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment when asked by CP about Anderson's book but pointed in the direction of Amazon's content guidelines that govern the books the company sells on its website. 

"We carefully consider the types of content we make available in our stores and review our approach regularly, listening to feedback and investigating concerns from our customers. We reserve the right to remove content from sale if we determine it creates a poor customer experience," the Amazon guidelines state. 

"We’ll remove content that does not adhere to these guidelines and promptly investigate any book when notified of potential noncompliance. If we remove a title, we let the author, publisher, or selling partner know and they can appeal our decision."

Part of the guidelines includes a section on "offensive content." 

"We don’t sell certain content including content that we determine is hate speech, promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive," the section reads. 

 A 2018 book written in response to Anderson's book is titled Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment is still available for purchase on the site. 

On Twitter, Anderson stated that the attention that Amazon’s removal of his book created led to the book selling out at book retailer Barnes & Noble.

Anderson also questioned the timing of the removal as he had an op-ed published in The New York Post Monday in which he called the Equality Act "a sword" that will be used "to persecute those who don’t embrace newfangled gender ideologies."

The book removal is the latest move the retail giant has made regarding LBGT issues, specifically content that scrutinizes transgender ideology. 

Last summer, Amazon disallowed Regnery Publishing from purchasing ads to promote journalist Abigail Shrier's book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

Shrier's investigative work examines why, for the first time in approximately 100 years of diagnostic history, teen girls have become the predominant demographic of gender dysphoria diagnoses. 

Until recently, gender dysphoria was an infrequent condition seen mostly in young boys. The book criticizes the lack of medical oversight and documents the myriad medical risks inherent in medicalized gender-transitioning that have yielded irreparable harm to girls as well as young women's bodies and psyches.

The retail giant has also removed books where men and women who once lived and identified among the LGBT recounted their stories of transformation in Jesus Christ at the apparent behest of activists. According to Amazon, the books constituted a "violation of our content guidelines." 

In August of 2019, Anne Paulk, author of Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction, told CP she was not surprised that Amazon had banned books like hers. 

"But it is literally criminal what the site still offers for sale,” she said at the time, noting that books are still available for purchase that normalize adult-child sex. 

Among the books that remain available on the platform is an academic work titled Pedophilia and Adult-Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis by Stephen Kershnar, which amounts to a defense of the sexual exploitation of children and calls into question its moral status. 

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