Amazon Bans Books Labeling LGBTQ Identity as Mental Illness

People walk past an Amazon Books retail store in New York
Reuters/Brendan McDermind An Amazon Books retail story in New York City.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Amazon is removing anti-LGBTQ books that falsely describe being LGBTQ as a mental illness. 

The e-commerce giant’s decision comes after Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote a letter to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos asking why “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” a book peddling anti-trans bias, was eliminated from the site and its Kindle and Audible platforms. 

In a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the politicians said they believed the book’s removal was part of a larger campaign to curtail conservative voices and material on Amazon’s platform.

Amazon’s response shut down their discriminatory claims.

“We carefully consider the content we make available in our stores, and we review our approach regularly,” the corporation wrote in a statement. “As described above, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” 

In a rant posted on Twitter on March 13, Senator Rubio doubled down on his statements and denounced the company. 

“Let me get this right,” Rubio said in a video on Twitter. “Amazon gets to be the most woke corporation on the planet and every day is proving their wokeness by banning books, not allowing traditional charities to participate in Amazon Smiles, denying President Trump access to Amazon’s web services, and denying his campaign that, every day we’re getting messages about how woke Amazon is.”

According to Rubio, the corporation seeks political backing for union issues, wage increases, and tax cuts — but will not cater to their views. 

“That’s fine. Be as woke as you want,” he said. “I have no problem with that. But when it comes to tax cuts, then they want our help… why don’t you go get your woke, liberal, leftist friends and have them help you. Here’s the bottom line: it’s very simple for me. The largest, richest company in the world and a champion of wokeness, all it does is beat up on conservatives versus hard-working Americans who want to get paid a little bit more and have better work conditions.”

According to Amazon, they have a “right not to sell certain content” and make “decisions about what selection they choose to offer.” Additionally, the corporation reached out to the book’s author ahead of its removal for violating the site’s content guidelines. 

While Amazon is standing firm in its decision, others have wavered following outcries on social media. Last year, Target came under fire for selling a transphobic book. Initially, the retailer removed the book from their site, and then after bigots swarmed the corporation on Twitter, the company reversed their decision.

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