Responding to Transgender Ideology—and censorship

I previously posted this review of Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally three years ago, not long after it was first published. I am republishing it again now, because three days ago it appeared that Amazon had delisted it on all its sites around the world. At first I wondered whether there had been a problem with the publisher, or the book had gone out of stock—but in those cases the book page remains with a note ‘Currently unavailable’. In fact, the Amazon page that carried it has been deleted, along with all other links. The book’s publisher comments:

Encounter Books is committed to publishing authors with differing views on a wide range of issues of public concern. We do this because a free society requires robust debate and spaces where dissenting opinions can be expressed unimpeded.

If Amazon, which controls most of the book sales in America, has decided to delist a book with which some of its functionaries disagree, that is an unconscionable assault on free speech. It will have a chilling effect on the publishing industry and the free circulation of ideas. It must not be left to stand unchallenged.
And in a reflection on this, Anderson himself comments:

Amazon never informed me or my publisher that it was removing my book. And Amazon’s representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about it. Perhaps they’re citing a religious objection to selling my book? Or maybe they only sell books with which they agree? (If so, they have a lot of explaining to do about why they carry Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.) If there’s a religious or speech objection, let’s hear it. But if it’s just an attempt to skew the conversation in the public square with an attempt to discredit one of the Equality Act’s most prominent critics, that’s a different matter.
We all believe in censorship; there are things we agree with, things we disagree with—find offensive even—but believe people should be allowed to say; and there are things that we believe should not be allowed the oxygen of publicity. But the key question is where the line is drawn between these last two categories. Amazon’s guidelines say:

The transgender treatment of young people

Dr Julie Maxwell writes: You may have seen the recent media coverage of the Judicial review brought by Keira Bell and Susan Evans against the Tavistock and perhaps you wonder what on earth this is all about. This was a landmark judgement that will have world wide repercussions as well as implications for churches and … Continue Reading

Understanding emerging gender identities

Mark Yarhouse is well known as a psychologist offering a Christian perspective on the complex questions around transgenderism and gender dysphoria, and I have previously reviewed his book Understanding Gender Dysphoria. He has teamed up with Julia Sadusky, a clinical psychologist and youth and ministry educator, and an advisor to Preston Sprinkle’s Center for Faith, Sexuality and … Continue Reading

Am I just my brain?

Phill Sacre offers this review of Sharon Dirckx’s recent book Am I Just my Brain? published by The Good Book Company, 2019. 1. The issue A wise and learned philosopher once said, “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl”. OK, those were the lyrics to Material Girl by Madonna … Continue Reading

Sex, gender and marriage in the C of E

Near the beginning of each meeting of General Synod, there is a session called Questions, where any member can put any question to any part of the Church. It is often interesting, and sometimes controversial, as it allows members to ask the awkward questions that some might wish to avoid. It is also something of … Continue Reading

The impact of transgenderism on young people

This review of an important book on this much-debated issue was written by Rev Dr Michael Bird, Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne. It was first published on his own blog and is reproduced here by permission. What follows is a 7,700-word summary and review of a book critiquing transgender ideology … Continue Reading

How should we respond to this transgender moment?

When it comes to the issue of transgenderism, there appears to be one thing everyone is agreed on: it is complex and challenging! The claims of transgender ideology appear to have rushed on us in a moment; the issues involved touch everyone very deeply; there are bizarre contradictions between advocates of transgender ideology and the … Continue Reading

What’s wrong with transgender liturgy?

Last July’s General Synod passed a motion brought by Chris Newlands on behalf of Blackburn Diocese, expressing the Church’s welcome of transgender people and asking the House of Bishops to consider whether they should offer some sort of liturgy to mark the transition of a person’s sex identity. In January, the House of Bishops responded … Continue Reading