An online petition is calling on Google to stop automatically including the word “worst” in the presentation of search results as a synonym when the word “gayest” is entered.

The phenomenon has been going on for a while, but now a Change.org petition by Heather Bronson in Canada has been set up, encouraging the search engine giant to change its methods.

She says Google “is blatantly encouraging gay shaming culture. Those who actually intend the word to be pejorative have their bigotry validated when their politically incorrect search yields the results they originally set out for. It reinforces the idea that gay shaming is acceptable. Such ignorance cannot be tolerated.”

In response, a Google UK spokesman said: “Google’s results, including when a search term is synonymised with another, are a reflection of content on the web and how people search. These results are determined by algorithms and we don’t manually correct this process, but we are always looking at how we can improve our algorithms.”

Google has been a strong supporter of LGBT rights. It offers full employee benefits to gay staff and spoke out against Proposition 8 in California.

Google launched a campaign called “Legalise Love”, aimed at pushing for gay rights in countries with anti-homosexuality laws in June of last year.