Amazonian Censorship: Stand against Amazon.com and its bias against LGBTQ content

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1194/1471233696_7175972e5d.jpg Dearest Friends, Family, Colleagues:

If you agree with me, I implore you to take a stand against Amazon's policy by signing the digital petition I link to in my entry. By allowing such a policy to continue, we're telling Amazon.com and the other powers that be that it's OK to suppress content based on morals many of us might not agree with. If we allow suppression of LGBTQ content now, whose experiences, whose voice, whose life may be silenced next?

Mine? Yours?

To understand what I am taking a stand against, please read on. This is essentially a form of censorship:

Main Entry: censor
Date: 1882
: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable <censor the news> ; also : to suppress or delete as objectionable <censor out indecent passages>

The petition I signed has been directly copied and pasted below:

We the undersigned, state our strong objection to Amazon's "Adult" policy as outlined in their letter in italics below

"In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D Member Services Amazon.com Advantage

We find it hypocritical that Amazon continues to sell adult books but thinks that removing the sales rating to (keep them out of the public eye) will achieve this.

We would like to hear the rationalisation for allowing sales ratings for explicit books with a heterosexual focus such as:

--Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds by Chronicle Books (pictures of over 600 naked women) --Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love" (explicit heterosexual romance); --Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove (explicit heterosexual romance); --Bertrice Smal's Skye o'Malley which are all explicit heterosexual romances --and Alan Moore's Lost Girls (which is a very explicit sexual graphic novel)

Yet the following books, which have a gay or lesbian focus, have been classed as "adult books" and stripped of their sales ratings:

--Radclyffe Hill's classic novel about lesbians in Victorian times, The Well of Loneliness, and which contains not one sentence of sexual description; --Mark R Probst's YA novel The Filly about a young man in the wild West discovering that he's gay (gay romance, no sex); --Charlie Cochrane's Lessons in Love (gay romance with no sex); --The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience, edited by Louis-George Tin (non-fiction, history and social issues); --and Homophobia: A History by Bryan Fone (non-fiction, focus on history and the forms prejudice against homosexuality has taken over the years).

Please tell us, Amazon, why the explicit books with a heterosexual focus are allowed to keep their sales ratings while the non-explicit romances, the histories and the biographies that deal with LGBTQ issues are not.

We would love to hear your reasoning.

Sign the petition against Amazon.com's unfair, disgusting policy: here. I think we'll blow past the goal of 10,000 before the night is through.

I am signature 3859:

5:34 pm PDT, Apr 12, Paul Gasparo Jr, Virginia As a college composition and rhetoric instructor with an MA in Literature, I believe this policy is offensive to both authors and readers (your bread and butter). Until this policy changes, I'll recommend my students and colleagues not use Amazon if they disagree with this policy, and we know the education system is made up of a majority of liberals, both faculty and student bodies.

This isn't an issue that applies merely to the so-called morality of homosexual versus heterosexual. It doesn't matter how many (really few) gay characters there are in TV and movies if that's one of your thoughts. This is about a silencing of an oppressed minority that will continue to face marginalization and violence without understanding and acceptance at all levels of a so-called democratic and politically equal society. The idea of the tactics of Amazon have been used against various minorities throughout history. Don't let history repeat itself.

Please sign the petition, read a book, and think for a while. Think about why you really hold the views you have. Learn who you are before arbitrarily passing judgment on anyone.

Your friend, blood, colleague, and former student,

Paul

My sincerest thanks to Kevin "Beaucoup Kevin" Church, who inspired me to write this post, for posting his open letter to Jeff Bezos: here.

PS: And so it begins, the blogging:

Violet Blue's response: here.