Despite rumors to the contrary, Amazon.com still sells most of its library of books that promote “ex-gay” conversion therapy.
The bookseller recently withdrew from its marketplace the books of a single author, Joseph Nicolosi, godfather of the now-discredited reparative therapy movement which falsely teaches that same-sex orientation and “confused” gender identity are both determined by poor parenting or abuse. A handful of books by other authors were removed, but many of those authors’ conversion-therapy books are still available for purchase.
Searches for books about curing homosexuality finds hundreds of offerings on Amazon.com, authored by longtime leaders of the ex-gay movement, including Alan Chambers (who has since renounced conversion therapy), Bob Davies, Joe Dallas, and Anne Paulk.
Nicolosi’s books were the focus of the Amazon action, and the books were withdrawn solely for violating Amazon.com product guidelines, which forbid:
- Products that promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group. This includes products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
- Products that promote or glorify suicide
- Products that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.
Books are, according to Amazon, exempted from these product guidelines. Nevertheless, Amazon still declines to sell literature that is, for example, virulently anti-Semitic or racist, or that describes how to commit illegal acts such as suicide or terrorism.
Critics contend that Nicolosi advocated self-destructive activities that increased the risk of suicide; offered unprofessional, unscientific, and hostile advice to patients; and presented as fact a number of malicious falsehoods relating to sexual minorities and transgender/intersex people.