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Library issues meagre apology after giving reviled anti-trans book a Pride month spotlight

Lily Wakefield June 16, 2021
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When Harry Became Sally in library Pride month display

The library included the anti-trans book When Harry Became Sally in its Pride month display. (Twitter/ Irving Library)

A library in Texas has issued meagre apology after including the anti-trans book When Harry Became Sally, banned by Amazon, in its Pride Month display.

Irving Library took to Twitter on Monday (14 June) to share photos of Pride displays in its three local libraries in Irving, Texas.

It wrote: “June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Visit any of our three library locations to browse our Pride displays and find a book to celebrate the lives and history of our LGBTQ+ community.”

However Twitter users were quick to point out that one book on display was very much not like the others.

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment is a book written by conservative scholar Ryan T Anderson that was published in February, 2018.

Anderson is the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an anti-LGBT+ conservative think tank, and was previously a senior research fellow at another anti-LGBT+ think tank, the Heritage Foundation. 

His book misgenders trans people throughout, including celebrities like Laverne Cox, Jazz Jennings and Caitlyn Jenner, and Anderson has argued that being trans is both a mental illness and a “politically correct fad”.

When a Twitter user pointed out that When Harry Became Sally was among the books in the Pride display, Irving Library offered an apology.

It tweeted: “We noticed this error as well and removed it from our display days ago.

“Unfortunately this is an older picture and missed it when we posted it. We do apologise!”

However it then went on to reassure library-goers that they would still be able to check out the anti-trans book.

When Harry Became Sally was banned by Amazon earlier this year under when it brought in a new policy to no longer sell books that frame LGBT+ identities as a “mental illness”.

Amazon explained its decision after Republican senators Marco Rubio (Florida), Mike Lee (Utah), Mike Braun (Indiana) and Josh Hawley (Missouri) complained about the book’s removal in a letter to Jeff Bezos.

The retailer explained: “As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to tell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.”

Amazon added that it provides its customers with “access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable”, but said: “We reserve the right not to sell certain content.

“All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, as do we.”

Related topics: anti-trans

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