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Amazon halts sales of books that treat LGBTQ identities as mental illness, report says

The company responds to Republican senators who asked why the e-commerce giant removed a 2018 book.

Amazon Shopping
Amazon outlined its reasons for removing a book from its online stores.
James Martin/CNET

Amazon on Thursday told Republican senators that it removed a 2018 book because the e-commerce site will no longer sell literature framing LGBTQ identities as mental illnesses, The Wall Street Journal reported. This came as a response to a letter asking why people couldn't turn to Amazon, Kindle or Audible for print, e-book or audiobook versions of Ryan T. Anderson's When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.

The book explores the media depiction of gender identity, as well as public policy approaches to the issue.

"We carefully consider the content we make available in our stores, and we review our approach regularly," wrote Brian Huseman, Amazon's vice president of public policy. "We have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness."

In their letter, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana and Josh Hawley of Missouri said Amazon's move told "conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms," the Journal reported.

Huseman said Amazon offers people "a wide variety of content that includes disparate opinions." 

Anderson said Amazon is hampering the exchange of ideas. "No good comes from shutting down a debate about important matters on which reasonable people of good will disagree," the author wrote in a statement. "Amazon is using its massive power to distort the marketplace of ideas and is deceiving its own customers in the process."

Amazon declined to add further comment.