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Scholar’s critique of transgender movement reportedly de-listed by Amazon

By Matt Hadro for CNA

Transgender flag (Credit: Ink Drop/Shutterstock)

Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2021 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- One scholar’s critical book on the transgender movement has reportedly been removed from Amazon.com.

On Sunday afternoon, Ryan Anderson—the current president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC)—reported that his book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was no longer listed for purchase on the online retail giant Amazon.com. The book was released three years ago, on Feb. 20, 2018.

Anderson told CNA on Monday morning that he was alerted to the situation as “people trying to buy it told me it was gone.”

“And not just like it’s out of stock. The pages are down. You can’t buy a used copy. You can’t buy the kindle. You can’t get the Audible version,” Anderson told CNA. He said that his book’s publisher asked for an explanation from Amazon as to why it was not being listed online, but had not yet received an explanation.

As of Monday afternoon, the book was not listed on Amazon for purchase, but was still available for purchase at the book retailer Barnes and Noble.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on Anderson’s claims on Monday.

Among content that is prohibited under Amazon’s guidelines is that which “we determine is hate speech,” along with “other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”

Amazon states that “providing access to the written word is important, including content that may be considered objectionable.” The company states that it may withdraw content if “we determine it creates a poor customer experience.”

In addition, Amazon states that if it pulls content, its policy is to inform the “author, publisher, or selling partner” of the de-listing and to allow them an appeal.

“If we remove a title, we let the author, publisher, or selling partner know and they can appeal our decision,” the company stated.

However, Anderson told CNA that as of Monday afternoon he had not heard any explanation from the company for his book not being listed online.

When Harry Became Sally is Anderson’s critical look into the transgender movement, exploring the biological, psychological, and philosophical areas of the transgender debate. He has been outspoken on topics such as the concept of gender fluidity, purported psychological benefits of gender-transition surgery for those with gender dysphoria, and the implications of “transgender mandates”—that public spaces such as single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms be available to people based on their gender identity.

Anderson’s book was commended by professors of psychiatry, psychology, and medical ethics at universities such as Johns Hopkins, Boston University, New York University, and Columbia University.

Despite the acclaim from scholars, he said it was still de-listed at Amazon. “It’s not about how you say it, it’s not about how rigorously you argue it, it’s not about how charitably you present it. It’s about whether you dissent from a new orthodoxy,” he said.

On Friday, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives to recognize sexual orientation and gender identity as protected legal classes. The proposed “Equality Act” would create broad protections in civil rights law for those identifying as transgender, non-binary, or gay or lesbian.

Critics such as Anderson have argued that the legislation would erode religious freedom protections and would require women to share sensitive spaces such as bathrooms, shelters, or locker rooms, with biological men identifying as transgender women.

“Make no mistake, both Big Government and Big Tech can undermine human dignity and liberty, human flourishing and the common good,” Anderson stated on Monday.

Recently, the Twitter account of Catholic World Report was suspended after the outlet tweeted a CNA article including language referring to a Biden administration nominee as “a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman.”

After the outlet was informed of its Twitter suspension on Jan. 24, its appeal was initially denied due to its “violations of the Twitter Rules.” As of Feb. 1, CWR’s account was unlocked, and a Twitter spokesperson on Feb. 2 said that “[t]he enforcement action was taken in error and has been reversed.”

[CWR note: When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment is available from Ignatius Press.]


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27 Comments

  1. A dealer in Maryland that sells through Amazon-owned abebooks.com has five copies as of the moment. Of course, the publisher has inventory, too.

  2. Amazon Censorship Leaves a Plot to Be Desired

    February 22, 2021

    Tony Perkins

    Excerpt:

    Already, a coalition of U.S. publishers, retailers, and authors have been writing to Congress, demanding that leaders start an anti-trust fight to break up Bezos’s book monopoly. In 2019, they pointed out, Amazon controlled 50 percent of all book distribution. Now, that number is as high as 70-80 percent. Not only does that squash competition, but it’s also — as this controversy proves — squashing viewpoints as well.

  3. In addition to Barnes and Noble, the book is also sold by Walmart online.

    I mention this because my wife and I recently cancelled our Amazon accounts after Amazon AWS clamped down on free speech. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Walmart online functions a lot like Amazon – it seems that they sell everything.

  4. What I’d like to know is when someone will develop an online presence that does what Amazon does with regard to publications of all sorts. Call it “1st Amendment Press Online.” I’d buy all my printed books, Kindle-platform and CD/DVD material from them and not Amazon. How about it entrepreneurs?

  5. At some point we need to have millions of people, who contest censorship of conservative Christian voices, cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions and stop shopping on Amazon altogether. But this is unlikely. Why? Because we have become slaves of instant gratification, which Amazon (and Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has used to their advantage to become lords of our lives. We complain about what these wild beasts in the wilderness are doing, yet we continue to feed and sustain them.

  6. I became a customer of amazon back when you were sent gifts for being loyal. Then I heard reports that investors were complaining that while stock value was soaring the company would not pay dividends but kept investing in expansion. In other words growing the bezos fiefdom. I stopped buying from amazon then. When bezos bought the washington post I could see the move to garner as much power as possible and now he wants to buy cnn. This guy is scary.

  7. Our responses to Amazon’s unprecedented censorship action “… will be like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains. A thing is about to happen here that has not happened since the Elder Days.” (quoting Gandalf).

  8. Check your local bookstores as well. Amazon is very bad for smaller bookstores- these businesses need help. Go 3-D instead of Kindle.

  9. I just ordered the book from Walmart. We have to show Amazon we will go elsewhere, so they really are just cutting their own dollars. I only use Amazon when I can’t find the item I want someplace else.

    • Of course Amazon did this! Was it because they fully believe in the ideology? No, they do not want to “offend” anyone and loose business. Remind you of anyone else you know?
      They have not the guts to call an ace an ace and a spade a spade, push for the truth and suggest ways to help these poor people find their true humanity. We, as good Catholic need to launch with the help of a Bishop, a boycott of Amazon! Wouldn’t that be something? Bishop Robert Barron and Bishop Strickland of Tyler, Tx come to mind. Forget the USCCB! They would deny that Mary is the Mother of God if there was a movement in America to do so.

    • Hi Barbara! I too do as you do. I find going directly to the company is very effective and many times you can get free shipping! I like to look on Amazon to see what’s available then purchased it at a brick & morter stores or the company’s website.
      I dislike Amazon for the very reason this article was written! God Bless You and Your Family and Happy Easter

    • As a fan of irony and satire I got your point, even without the Walmart explanation. (I don’t do Walmart either, but when Ignatius Press doesn’t sell it I go to Barnes & Noble.)

  10. “Among content that is prohibited under Amazon’s guidelines is that which “we determine is hate speech,” along with “other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.””

    Prohibiting “hate speech” has never passed constitutional muster in court in the US. The label is defamatory and vague, so it shouldn’t be allowed. One ought to avoid loaded language, and point to specifically objectionable facts – not how a work seems (or is alleged) to make a person feel.

    Any decision without any justification should be thrown out and ought to be null and void in a court of law. Actually, these censorship decisions shouldn’t be left to the discretion of any non-government entity.

  11. This story is subscriber content at the Wall Street Journal online:

    Amazon Faces Questions Over Removal of Book by Conservative Author

    By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
    Updated Feb. 24, 2021 10:22 pm ET

    The good news is at the end:

    A longstanding truism in the book business is that the only bad publicity is no publicity, and that appears to be true for Mr. Anderson as well. The print edition is now sold out at BarnesandNoble.com, but on late Wednesday afternoon the ebook ranked No. 3 on the bookseller’s Top 100 list for digital books.

    A spokesman for Encounter Books on Wednesday said the publisher has reordered 5,000 paperback copies.

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