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15 Feb, 2019 16:10

‘Profiting from pain’: Amazon under fire for selling ‘gay cure’ books

‘Profiting from pain’: Amazon under fire for selling ‘gay cure’ books

LGBTQ advocates are incensed following revelations this week that multinational e-commerce giant Amazon is selling gay conversion therapy books, “promoting hatred, abuse, and self-harm,” in the process.

Award-winning author and LGBTQ rights activist Damian Barr raised the issue online, accusing Amazon of taking sides by allowing people to profit by pushing harmful, pseudoscientific ‘treatments.’

Among the contentious titles available on Amazon’s website are ‘A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality,’ ‘Healing Homosexuality, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality,’ and ‘How a Gay Boy Became a Straight Man.’

“Amazon is not being neutral by selling these. Amazon is making a statement about their values by choosing to sell these books,” Barr told Buzzfeed News.

“Amazon has a responsibility to their customers to not profit from or promote self-harm and hate crimes,” he added. “If you read the comments below you can clearly see the book had caused harm to parents as well as children. Amazon is profiting from the pain of the people affected by this book.”

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A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality was written by US psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, who co-founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality which offers gay conversion and “psychological services to men and women whose same-sex attraction doesn’t define them.”

Now rebranded as the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI), the group states it is a “non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality” which advocates for “competent licensed, professional assistance… for persons who experience unwanted homosexual (same-sex) attractions (SSA).”

However, the efficacy of such treatments has long been in dispute and just recently New York State passed a bill outlawing gay conversion therapy for children.  

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“With an administration of bullies in Washington, New York is standing up for common sense, fairness, and justice," Assembly member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), wrote in a statement.

Gay conversion therapy emerged in the US during the 1970s and was combined with aversion therapies including electroshock and induced vomiting. It then became reparative therapy, which is less physical and instead aims to tie homosexuality to childhood trauma which supporters say can be overcome.

LGBTQ commentators online disagreed and were appalled that the tech giant saw fit to profit from selling such controversial books.

Amazon declined to comment on the outrage.

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