Amazonfail — hurts both Disability and GLBT Communities

Posted on 13 April 2009. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

If you are even remotely plugged into the GLBT communication network, or even a casual user of twitter, then you probably already know about how Amazon’s new “adult” policy has created a situation that makes it much, much harder for consumers to search for, and find, all kinds of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender – themed books. This includes books that are not even vaguely “adult” in theme, such as the children’s book “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

If you’ve been out of touch, read an excellent, well-balanced synopsis of the whole situation and the resulting public-relations nightmare for Amazon at http://lysimachia.livejournal.com/52888.html

Receiving far less attention in most of the hullaboo so far is the fact that, apparently, at least some disability books have been targeted also, including at least one sociology text book!

People with disabilities are already frequently stereotyped as being necessarily, asexual, uninterested in sex, unable to have sex, etc. All of these mistaken assumptions can lead to fatal consequences. People who run HIV/AIDS prevention programs, for example, often systematically exclude people with disabilities from their outreach efforts because they assume that they “don’t need” to know about condoms or whatever. Yet, research shows that people with disabilities are actually at higher risk for HIV/AIDS than the general population. (See http://cira.med.yale.edu/globalsurvey/ for details.)

If books on disability sexuality are being targeted in the same way as are GLBT books, then people with disabilities will find it more difficult than ever before to find factual information about their own bodies and sexuality and how to care for their health. Also people who NEED to know how to provide services to people with disabilities in relation to sexuality, including HIV/AIDS educators, medical personnel and others, will find it harder to locate accurate information to replace the misinformation and prejudiced attitudes they may be carrying. All the existing dangerous myths about sexuality in relation to people with disabilities will simply be allowed to continue, along with their potentially fatal consequences.

For more details, see the following two blog posts by excellent bloggers Kateryna Fury and Lisy Babe:

http://textualfury.wordpress.com/2009/04/12/amazonfail/
http://lisybabe.blogspot.com/2009/04/amazonfail.html

Kateryna Fury at Textual Fury is currently working on a list of disability-related books that have been affected. Please do get in touch with her (not with me!! with Kateryna!) if you identify any.

You can help by looking up disability-themed books you know of at Amazon to see if they still have a sales ranking (usually provided near the bottom of the page in the relevant entry). Also experiment to see how easy it is to search for the book. Can you find it easily just by using Amazon’s search engine as soon as you log on? Or do you have to specifically indicate that you are looking for a book? What combinations of title, author name, ISBN work or don’t work? De-ranking an Amazon book often results in making it harder to find for consumers who are searching for it, unless you hit on exactly the right combination of search parameters.

Post at Kateryna Fury’s blog and also twitter it with the hash tags #amazonfail and #stilldelisted and #disability

Also learn more detail about the overall situation by reading the Facebook group on the issue. You don’t have to join the group (or have a facebook account) to read the page. But you do have to join if you want to post there:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=70927484220

I have now posted the following tweet:

#amazonfail on #disability too. Pls RT these: http://is.gd/sbno http://is.gd/s5I6 and http://is.gd/s5Xr #glitchmyass #GLBT #disabled

Others please feel free to copy/paste the above text into their twitter.com also. It links both Kateryna Fury’s and Lisy Babe’s posts, as well as this one. The #hashtags are there to make the tweet show up more easily in certain keyword searches.

Another tweet, encouraging more people to help researching disability books that you can copy paste:

Pls post titles of #disability books affected by #amazonfail in comments area at http://is.gd/s5Xr and twitter #stilldelisted #glitchmayass

UPDATE UPDATE
Essay on amazonfail in relation to abelism and how people negatively view the sexuality of people with disabilities:
http://notimpressed.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/about-amazonfail/

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