The targeted search terms ranged widely. Some were broad, such as “lgbtq,” “pride” and “closeted gay,” while others indicated intentional product searches, including “transgender flag,” “queer brooch,” “chest binder for lesbians” and “lgbtq iphone case.” All of those terms returned “no results” when The Times tried queries on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Several specific book titles were blocked, including “My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness,” by Nagata Kabi; “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe; and Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist.” All are available in print and digital formats on Amazon’s website in the United States. (Ms. Gay is a frequent contributor to The Times.)
“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,” Nicole Pampe, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement. “With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”
The Emirati Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
Amazon entered the Emirates in 2017 when it spent $580 million to acquire Souq.com, a Dubai-based e-commerce site known as the Amazon of the Middle East. Two years later, it rebranded the site Amazon.ae, adding products offered from Amazon’s U.S. operations. It has announced plans to open a new cluster of cloud computing data centers in the Emirates this year.