Amazon employees protest sale of transphobic books outside company headquarters – Business Insider

Amazon employees protest sale of transphobic books outside company headquarters – Business Insider

Amazon employees staged a die-in Wednesday at the company’s Seattle headquarters, disrupting a company LGBTQ Pride Month celebration in protest of Amazon’s continued sale of transphobic books.
The protest comes amid increased employee activism at large technology companies, including unionization campaigns among Amazon’s U.S. warehouse workers. 
In an email, an Amazon spokesperson reiterated previous company statements in support of trans rights and Amazon’s LGBTQ employees. The company chooses to sell books from “a very broad range of viewpoints, including books that conflict with our company values and corporate positions,” the spokesperson wrote.
The nearly 30 protestors who stormed a company-sponsored Pride Flag-raising ceremony on Amazon’s Seattle campus Wednesday included members of the internal LGBTQ activist group No Hate At Amazon. In speeches, protestors accused the company of attempting to “rainbow-wash” its image while making money off of the sale of content that harms transgender people. 
 
Other LGBTQ groups have leveled similar complaints against Amazon, including Seattle Pride, which this year barred Amazon from sponsoring its annual Pride Parade over the company’s “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,” the group said in a statement in March.
Nearly 600 Amazon employees signed a petition earlier this year asking Amazon to stop selling the books “Irreversible Damage” and “Johnny The Walrus,” and to give workers more say over which books the company decides to stop selling. Employees say both books fall under Amazon’s 2021 ban on selling books framing transgender and other sexual identities as mental illnesses. Amazon’s decision to continue selling those books and others in the face of employee dissent has led some employees to resign
One longtime Amazon employee who participated in Wednesday’s protest said they weren’t in a financial position to resign. The employee asked not to be named, noting that Amazon has previously fired employees who protested the company’s policies.
Protesting is “a risk that a lot of us are willing to take because we can’t continue to work for this company and turn a morally blind eye to its policies,” the employee said.
The form of the protest, a die-in, was intended to highlight that transgender youth who face discrimination and are denied gender-affirming healthcare attempt suicide at rates many times higher than the general population.
Republicans at the state level have in the past year advanced a slate of legislation to restrict transgender youths’ access to medical treatment, sports, and public facilities.
Work at Amazon? Got a tip? Contact reporter Katherine Long on the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-206-375-9280) or by email (klong@insider.com).
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