On the first day of June, Amazon headquarters in Seattle hosted its annual LGBTQ Pride celebration, only to be interrupted by transgender employees protesting the company’s “transphobic” policies. If that takes a moment to process, you’re not alone.
Amazon was one of the first major companies to include transgender medical services in its health plan. Currently, the company covers full transition services and a wide range of elective and cosmetic surgery coverage for transgender employees, including rhinoplasty, liposuction, multiple facial reconstruction and adjustment procedures, and even a facelift.
The information site for Amazon Aetna coverage has a designated section for transgender benefits. Under the provider options, you can even specifically look for LGBT providers. Among other benefits, Amazon has an employee resource group called Glamazon, founded in 1999, specifically for LGBT employees. They have built a Transgender Toolkit designed for managers to help transgender employees go through transition and express themselves fully at work.
Amazon is arguably one of the most explicitly pro-LGBT organizations globally and has earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign as one of the best places to work for LGBT people. Under Amazon’s LGBTQ+ books section, there are 60,000 results.
So, what could possibly be motivating protests by transgender activist employees? It comes down to two books, Abigail Shrier’s “Irreversible Damage” and Matt Walsh’s “Johnny the Walrus,” being sold on the platform. Amazon leaders have apparently refused to remove them from sale.
LGBT Objections to Books And Donations
Journalist Katherine Long documented these grievances in a Twitter thread, with accompanying articles detailing the complaints. Her first tweet reads, “I’m at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, where about 30 Amazon employees are staging a die-in during Amazon’s Pride Flag raising ceremony in protest of the company’s continued sale of what they say are transphobic books.” In a video in the thread, showing security attempting to quell the protest, an activist is heard naming Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage,” demanding to know why senior leadership closed out a ticket to have it removed.
An activist organization within Amazon called “No Hate at Amazon” accused Amazon of “rainbow-washing” its reputation by continuing to allow the two books to be sold. It also opposes that the company’s Amazon Smile program, in which a customer can opt-in to have a portion of his purchases go to a non-profit organization, permits “anti-LGBT” charities to be chosen.
Seattle Pride, a non-profit organization, revoked Amazon’s sponsorship of LGBTQ celebration events in 2022. It stated, “Seattle Pride has decided to not partner with Amazon for the 2022 Seattle Pride Parade because of their financial donations to politicians who actively propose and support anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, oppose pro-LGBTQIA+ and other human rights legislation, and for allowing anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations to raise funds from their AmazonSmile program.”
Amazon’s official positions include LGBTQ+ rights and say “The rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. We were early and strong supporters of marriage equality and will continue to advocate for protections and equal rights for transgender people.” Despite multiple public statements from Amazon on its strong support for LGBTQ employees and their favored policies, it simply wasn’t good enough for activists.
Back in 2021, several Amazon employees publicly resigned in protest of Amazon continuing to carry Shrier’s book. This after Amazon removed Ryan T. Anderson’s bestseller, “When Harry Became Sally,” claiming it violated a new policy that the company would not sell books positioning transgender identity as a mental illness. Anderson’s book, of course, made no such claims, but internal outrage pressured the company to act. Activists, however, were not satisfied that all titles they deemed to be unacceptable weren’t banned from sale.
LGBT Intolerance Will Harm Their Cause
The protests and demands continue. While it is uncertain why Amazon has seemingly quietly backed away from further action on other titles, it appears they have taken a more tolerant approach. Tolerance for differing points of view has become a risky business decision for companies that wish to participate in public support for LGBTQ. As LGBTQ activism becomes more intolerant of free speech and disagreement, the pressure on companies like Amazon continues to grow.
What leftist activists seem not to consider is that continued demands with heightened aggression and vocal intolerance for even the slightest deviation from their ideology will harm them in the long run. If Amazon, an objectively pro-LGBTQ organization, cannot meet the standards of acceptability from these activists, how can the vast majority of businesses hope to compete? The further activists push their most vocal supporters away for mild offenses, the less supportive rational people will become of the movement as a whole.
The good news seems to be that the influence of these irrational, entitled, narcissistic, and aggressively bigoted activists hold may be slipping away. Despite public shaming, shunning, and accusations of transphobia and hate, Amazon appears to be quietly ignoring the outrage and carrying on with business as usual.
As Bethany Mandel wisely suggested, “Time for companies to say ‘You’re welcome to find another employer’ and quit playing these games.” Perhaps Amazon is finally learning they can never do enough to appease the LGBTQ bullies and that it’s best for them, and their customer base, if they simply ignore the leftwing nonsense.