Amazon is by far the world's number one purveyor of books. So it's disturbing that a title topping one of its LGBT charts is a tome dedicated to denouncing trans people as mentally ill and a threat to children.
It's not officially out until February 20, but Ryan T. Anderson's When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment is already a best-seller on Amazon's Gay & Lesbian Civil Rights History list. (The Kindle version of the book is currently Number 6.)
Anderson claims the book offers "a balanced approach to the policy issues, a nuanced vision of human embodiment, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong."
But he also insists the current "trans moment" in our culture is happening "not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement." (Anderson's previous book, Truth Overruled, argues how the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality threatens religious liberty and "marriage culture" in this country.)
"The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex," he writes. "Biology isn’t bigotry."
And, of course, someone needs to think about the children.
In the past 10 years, dozens of pediatric gender clinics have sprung up throughout the United States. In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital “became the first major program in the United States to focus on transgender children and adolescents,” as their own website brags.
A decade later, over 45 gender clinics had opened their doors to our nation’s children—telling parents that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones may be the only way to prevent teen suicides.
Never mind that according to the best studies—the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite—80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.
Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are nineteen times more likely than average to die by suicide.
These statistics should stop us in our tracks. Clearly, we must work to find ways to effectively prevent these suicides and address the underlying causes. We certainly shouldn’t be encouraging children to “transition.”
If a reader is still unclear where he stands on transgender rights, Anderson explains that, "Despite activists’ best efforts to put up a unified front, Harry cannot become Sally. Activists’ desperate insistence to the contrary suggests that the transgender moment is fleeting."
Unsurprisingly, LGBT advocates aren't rushing to write blurbs for the book.
"None of the 'early praise' reviews... actually come from transgender people, nor from doctors who care for transgender patients, nor from anyone who advocates for transgender people," wrote Zach Ford on ThinkProgress. "The same is true of the content inside the book, due out February 20, which is largely based in junk science."
"Amazon is giving credibility to an anti-trans book by allowing it to gurgle its way up to the #1 spot in the category of Gay & Lesbian Civil Rights History," wrote journalist Matt Baume on Facebook. "A place it could not possibly deserve less to be."
Baume calls the title, "inappropriate, dangerous, violent, unacceptable."
There's all kinds of problems with Amazon's best-seller rankings, as laid out in this piece on Quartz from February 2017, in which Brent Underwood managed to make a photo of his foot a best-seller in five minutes for just $3.
But it doesn't change the fact that many uninformed people will see this book branded a best-seller and assume it's well-researched, objective and informative. Some of those people may be looking for advice about a loved one who's come out as trans, or grappling with their own gender identity.