Tech giant Google pulled a controversial app from its store, late Thursday, that championed the widely-condemned practice of “ex-gay therapy.”
The move comes after 140,000 people signed a Change.org petition pressuring Google to pull the app, as well as a move by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to suspend Google from its Corporate Equality Index over the app. The app was created by Living Hope Ministries and touted the practice of “ex-gay therapy” to "cure" LGBTQ people, telling users that it could “help homosexuals leave their destructive lifestyle” and suggested that homosexuality was a “stomach-ulcer-of-a-life.”
“This is what people power looks like, when 140,000 people can convince one of the largest companies in the world to take a bold stand against the dangers of ex-gay therapy,” said Michael Jones, Managing Director of Campaigns at Change.org. “This was the perfect storm of online pressure and institutional activism from the LGBTQ movement, and tonight supporters can claim a big win in convincing tech companies to stand up for equality.”
Amazon, Microsoft and Apple had all previously removed the Living Hope Ministries app from their platform.
Google and HRC both made statements to Axios about the removal of the app:
Google: “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.”
HRC: “We applaud Google for making the right decision to pull this app from their online store. 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.”
The petition on Change.org, started by the LGBTQ rights group Truth Wins Out, is the largest LGBTQ rights petition on Change.org thus far in 2019. To view comments left by supporters on the petition, visit: www.change.org/ExGayApp.