Mountain View, California – LGBT groups are claiming victory following Google’s March 28th decision to stop offering an app by a ministry that included material considered “ex-gay” involving conversion therapy, which is the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation. The group Truth Wins Out, based in Philadelphia, has been at the forefront in the fight against the practice.
“Today is a major victory for those who want to protect LGBT youth from charlatans,” said Wayne Besen, Philadelphia resident and founder of Truth Wins Out. “We have clearly sent the message that dangerous and discredited products designed to ‘pray away the gay’ have no home on mainstream online stores.” Besen added that the app targeted LGBT youth with toxic messages of guilt and shame.
Besen said Google removed the app partly because of a four-month pressure campaign that included a Change.org petition that received more than 142,000 signatures.
While attempts to reach Google for comment were unsuccessful, Human Rights Campaign officials said part of the reason Google removed the app was because it had applied pressure on the company to do so. HRC had warned the company that its score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index would be suspended when the index was released if the app wasn’t taken down. Google, according to HRC’s criteria in the 17th annual edition of its index, earned 100 percent, and it got the same perfect score in 2018. The latest Index was released on March 28th. The app had not been removed by Google and the company’s score was suspended but lifted later that day when Google removed the app. In December 2018, Apple pulled the app and Microsoft did the same. Within days, Amazon did so as well. The website of Living Hope Ministries, which was responsible for the app, includes things such as videos of young people telling their stories of what caused their same-sex attraction. t (Philadelphia Gay News – Lenny Cohen at Epgn.com/news/national/14476-google-removes-anti-gay-conversion-therapy-app-after-months-of-pressure)