Target removes book critical of gender-transitioning girls, relents following pushback

Target Black Friday 2017 sale will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Target Black Friday 2017 sale will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving. | REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber

Retailer Target pulled a book critical of the medicalized gender-transitioning of teenaged girls from its shelves only to add it back following customer complaints.

In response to tweets from two customers, the retail giant said it would no longer sell journalist Abigail Shrier's recent book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.

“I think the trans community deserves a response from @AskTarget @Target as to why they are selling this book about the ‘transgender epidemic sweeping the country.’ Trigger warning: Transphobia,” one Twitter user wrote, according to The Federalist.

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Another Twitter user said: "In 2016, @Target, you released a statement affirming your support for transgender customers. @AskTarget why you’re selling a book notorious for its harmful rhetoric against us. Historically, harmful products have been pulled from this shelf, and this should be, too.”

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters | Photo: Courtesy of Regnery Publishing

Target summarily responded in a tweet explaining that the company would remove the book.

But in response to the removal, some customers took to social media to accuse Target of censorship.

“We removed a book from based on feedback we received,” the retail giant told The Federalist in a statement Friday.

“We want to offer a broad assortment for our guests and are adding this book back to We apologize for any confusion.”

A prominent attorney within the American Civil Liberties Union, Chase Strangio — who has spearheaded the outfit's transgender legal efforts — accused Shrier in a tweet of having the "goal of making people not trans." He accused her book of being a "dangerous polemic."

“I think of all the times & ways I was told my transness wasn’t real & the daily toll it takes. We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again,” Strangio expressed in a now-deleted tweet. 

The ACLU attorney added: “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on."

Journalist Abigail Shrier
Journalist Abigail Shrier | Courtesy of Regnery Publishing

Shrier penned a Sunday Wall Street Journal editorial, noting that "when independent bookstores are nearly extinct, chain bookstores are endangered, and Americans’ movement outside their homes is constrained by a pandemic, a handful of online retailers have outsize influence over the ideas to which we have access."

"And those ideas are being winnowed in one direction," she argued. 

Though Target reversed course in response to customer complaints, other books will be quietly suppressed, the author contends.

"In an America where the left has achieved dominance of cultural institutions and adopted a tyrannical opposition to other ideas, where social media extends its reach, and where books are distributed by a handful of retailers — a book burning doesn’t even require a populist uprising," Shrier stated. "It takes only one online extremist or two to make a book disappear. And when that happens, don’t look to the ACLU to defend you."

This is not the first time retail giants have sought to limit IrreversibleDamage.

Before its release, Amazon disallowed the book's publisher, Regnery Publishing, from purchasing ads to promote the book.

Target's efforts to disappear the book appears to have had the opposite effect in terms of interest.

Federalist contributor Chad Felix Greene noted Friday that Shrier's book was around No. 3,200 in all books on the Amazon site and rose to No. 15 in addition to rising to the top spot in other categories.

So many copies were ordered the book was placed on backorder. 

Regnery said in response to Target's moves that it is glad the book was brought back but that there ought not to be any confusion as to what transpired.

"They caved to the woke mob & then relented. Don’t let them fool you into thinking *you’re* the one who is crazy/confused in this scenario," the publishing house tweeted.

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