March 31, 2019 | Sex & Society

Google finally drops "gay conversion" app

Big tech companies are known for dragging their feet when asked to change, and Google is no exception; it was one of the last companies that refused to drop a "gay conversion" app from its store, even though it violated Google's terms of use.
The app described homosexuality as a “destructive lifestyle” and a “stomach-ulcer-of-a-life.” It also called gay men “sexually broken guys.” Truth Wins Out started an online petition calling on companies to drop the app, and Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon all discontinued it.
But even with 140,000 signatures on the petition, and endless angry blog posts, Google refused to act. It wasn't until the HRC (Human Rights Commission) pulled Google from the Corporate Equality Index -- a rating system the LGBTQ-rights group uses to list accepting and safe workplaces -- that the company finally did the right thing.
“After consulting with outside advocacy groups, reviewing our policies, and making sure we had a thorough understanding of the app and its relation to conversion therapy, we’ve decided to remove it from the Play Store, consistent with other app stores,” Google said in a statement.
“We are delighted that Google finally backed down and deleted a dangerous app that targeted LGBTQ youth with toxic messages of guilt and shame,” Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen said. “It is still unfathomable why Google stubbornly defended the indefensible for months, when the hateful and destructive content in this app should have been self-evident. We hope this sends a powerful message that ‘pray away the gay’ products are unacceptable and have no place in a decent and civilized society.”
“We applaud Google for making the right decision to pull this app from their online store," HRC President Chad Griffin added. "So-called conversion therapy is a debunked practice that’s tantamount to child abuse and is proven to have dangerous consequences for its victims. Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.”
It's great that the company finally acted, but this really shouldn't have been so difficult.

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