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UAE pressures Amazon to remove LGBTQ related searches

Amazon has folded to the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) government’s request to remove LGBTQ searches and products in the region.

According to The Verge’s report, Amazon users in the UAE cannot buy books like Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe or products like ‘chest binder for lesbians.’ Also, the news site mentions that about 150+ keywords related to being queer have been hidden for Amazon users in the UAE.

The development comes not too long after the government faced backlash for its stand on the use of the LGBTQ+ rainbow flags during the upcoming 2022 World Cup. It announced that the use of such materials is banned, while a senior leader overseeing security for the tournament insists that same-s*x couples are welcomed to attend the event in Qatar.

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To explain, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari said:

“If he [a fan] raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him. Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack [him] … I cannot guarantee the behaviour of the whole people. And I will tell him: `Please, no need to really raise that flag at this point.'”

Although the threat that Amazon faced if it did not comply with the government requests has not been revealed, there have likely been a few.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said: “As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people must be protected. With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”

The UAE continues to be openly in opposition to same-s*x relationships and acts, with jail terms and fines being some of the methods it keeps citizens in check.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.