The controversy has been on the table since December 2018. The Google Play Store included in its library an lgbt emoji application to cure gays. Yeah, just like that. “Pray away the gay”, its name says it all, has been removed from the store of the big G, which has finally yielded to the pressures of various LGBT+ groups.
So much talk about equality and in the end Google doesn’t do too much for it. Or so it seems. How is it possible that it took the company so long to remove an app from its store that promoted sexual orientation conversion therapies?
Last December, the NGO Truth Wins Out denounced the presence of “Pray away the gay” on various online platforms. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft removed it immediately. Google flinched, claiming that the application did not violate the rules of use of its Play Store (what a way to evaluate content that incites hatred and discrimination).
“These programs don’t work, they destroy lives,” said Wayne Basen, executive director of the American NGO, in his denunciation. And it’s no mean feat. The application – developed by Living Hope Ministries of Arlington, Texas – contained sections titled “Keys to Recovering from Same-sex Attractions. And not only that, it speaks of homosexuals as “boys with broken sexuality” who “have a physically and spiritually harmful lifestyle”. It also refers to transsexuals as people suffering from “gender confusion,” among other nonsense that we are not going to repeat here.
After a lot of pressure and even a massive campaign on change.org urging Google to remove the app from its online store, it seems that the multinational directed by Sundar Pichai has come to its senses. And all because the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) suspended Google’s assessment for not adopting a solution in its annual report on equality in companies. One day was enough for the big G to change its mind.
“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,” according to official Google statements.
Chad Griffin, president of HRC, said he applauded Google’s decision because “so-called conversion therapy is a debunked practice that’s tantamount to child abuse and is proven to have dangerous consequences for its victims.” He added that Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.
Google promotes equality… and then what?
It’s not the first time the controversy over an app that promotes racist, homophobic or gender inequality behaviors has shaken Google. The American multinational has been happy to speak of equality and then its store seems to have no filter for applications that differ from these principles that they enact so much. We do not forget the application to control women in Saudi Arabia that Google has decided not to remove because it does not comply with the country’s regulations. Really, Google?
Do you also think Google’s Play Store should have a tougher policy on which applications can be sold on its store?