A letter from Amazon to Republican senators addressed the removal of controversial book When Harry Became Sally.
Amazon Books
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Amazon revealed in a letter to Republican senators this week that the company no longer sells books that paint LGBTQ identities as mental illnesses.

The Wall Street Journal published a letter signed by the company's Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman that was written in response to Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. The politicians had submitted an inquiry to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in February asking for an explanation as to why the book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, published in 2018 from author Ryan T. Anderson, was no longer available on Amazon, Kindle, or Audible.

"As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness," the letter reads.

When reached for comment by EW, a rep for Amazon pointed to the letter published by the WSJ.

In responding to specific questions made by the senators, the letter reads, "We review both our Content Guidelines for Books and our approach to curating Amazon's bookstores regularly, which can sometimes result in removal of books that were previously available on our shelves... When we decide no longer to sell a book, we remove it from our store and we send an email to the author, publisher, or selling partner, informing them of the removal."

When Harry Became Sally, a best seller, remains a controversial book among the transgender community. Anderson tweeted in 2018 that "gender dysphoria is a serious mental health issue. By contrast transgenderism is a belief system that increasingly looks like a cultish religion — modern day Gnosticism denying physical reality for deceived perceptions — being forced on the public by the state."

The book's official description reads, in part, "Everyone has something at stake in the controversies over transgender ideology, when misguided 'antidiscrimination' policies allow biological men into women's restrooms and penalize Americans who hold to the truth about human nature."

In a statement to EW, a GLAAD spokesperson called When Harry Became Sally "dangerous and harmful to trans kids," and urged those looking for information about trans identity to avoid "resources written by someone who has made their livelihood by publishing screeds against the trans community."

"There's an antiquated and shameful history of equating LGBTQ identity to mental illness, and Amazon's decision to stop selling books that falsely equate the two is a positive step in ending the misinformation campaign against LGBTQ people, especially trans youth, meant only to cause harm," the statement reads.

In a series of tweets posted on Thursday night in response to Amazon's letter, Anderson wrote, "Everyone agrees that gender dysphoria is a serious condition that causes great suffering. There is a debate, however, which amazon is seeking to shut down, about how best to treat patients who experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is listed in the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which Amazon sells. So the real deciding factor seems to be whether you endorse hormones and surgery as the proper treatment or counseling."

Anderson wrote in a post published in February to First Things — a website from the Institute of Religion and Public Life, which is described as "an interreligious, nonpartisan research and educational 501(c)(3) organization" — that neither he nor his publisher were informed of his book's removal from Amazon.

According to Amazon, the distributor of When Harry Became Sally was notified via email of the book's removal "for violating our content guidelines." Among Amazon's list of products it prohibits are those "that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation," as well as those "that promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group."

This article was updated with a statement from GLAAD.

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