On Wednesday, a group of about 30 Amazon employees participated in a die-in protest at the company’s Seattle, Washington headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The company was holding a Pride Month event and was raising a pride flag when workers lay on the ground while wrapped in trans flags and chanting “Show me what community looks like!,” per local NPR outlet KUOW. Workers included members of the worker-led No Hate at Amazon group, which is pushing their employer to stop both selling and producing anti-trans books. In the bigger picture, the group works to fight against all forms of hate at the company.
An organizer involved in the group spoke to the Washington Post anonymously out of retaliation concerns and explained that while the company does have policies against hate speech and a refusal to sell it, there are a number of anti-trans materials that are made and sold anyway.
“We are here because Amazon has failed us,” protesters said during a speech at the Pride flag event. “We acknowledge the tireless work of the workers who use Glamazon as a force for good, and who make events like today’s flag-raising possible. We believe in our fellow employees. We believe that you are on our side.” (Glamazon is what the company calls its LGBTQ+ worker group, which is responsible for the Pride celebration they interrupted.)
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“There is a direct line between the hateful transphobic rhetoric Amazon is profiting from, the unprecedented anti-trans legislation across the United States, and the violent and often deadly physical attacks so many of our community face,” the group added.
Amazon has refused to remove some seriously damaging books, including Desist, Detrans & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult; Irreversible Damage; and, of course, the disturbing children’s book Johnny the Walrus by conservative menace Matt Walsh. Other major booksellers, including Target, have pulled some of these titles from their websites already.
Back in 2021, a small group of employees actually quit Amazon over its refusal to stop selling such hateful and dangerous books, per NBC News.
It’s interesting to see how quickly folks mock these brave protest efforts online. Of all the things people can protest when it comes to Amazon, some Twitter users opine, is this really what we should focus on? Of course, the answer is a simple yes, and. Yes, protest horrendous worker conditions, and anti-trans books. Yes, protest anti-union rhetoric, and anti-trans books. Yes, protest Amazon after hearing Black workers speak out about racism they experienced, and because of anti-trans books.
There is room for everyone and every cause when it comes to combatting hate.
As highlighted over at the Post, Seattle Pride, which organizes Seattle’s pride parade, has already banned Amazon as a corporate sponsor. This included refusing a $100,000 donation because Amazon donates to anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers, as well as a refusal to stop anti-queer groups from raising money on AmazonSmile, its charitable donation platform.
Here are some moments from the protest as shared on Twitter, as well as messages of support and analysis on why this sort of protest is so meaningful.
The group is also circulating a petition to both stop selling anti-trans texts and to permit a worker oversight board.
Sign the petition: Transgender children deserve all our love, support, and gender-affirming care