Google removes ‘conversion therapy’ app after sustained pressure
Google has finally removed an app that reportedly promotes “conversion therapy” from its store after months of pressure.
Living Hope Ministries—an app that allegedly tells users they can change their sexuality—was removed by Amazon, Apple and Microsoft in recent months, but the app continued to be available on Google’s Play Store.
A Change.org petition calling on Google to remove the app has been signed by more than 140,000 people.
In a statement provided to PinkNews, Google said: “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 president Chad Griffin praised Google’s decision to remove the app from its 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,” Griffin said in an emailed statement to PinkNews. “Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.”
The ‘conversion therapy’ app removed by Google had already been removed by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft
The move comes after HRC suspended Google from its Corporate Equality Index yesterday, citing the company’s refusal to remove the app as the reason.
Late last year, Truth Wins Out started a petition to Apple asking them to remove the Living Hope Ministries app from their store. The tech company acted quickly and the app was removed in December.
Amazon and Microsoft later followed suit and removed the app from their platforms.
In the petition to Google, Truth Wins Out said the app was “awful” and that it “brazenly compares homosexuality to addiction.”
“‘Ex-gay’ programs are a sham. They don’t work, they destroy lives and they are condemned by every respectable medical and mental health organization in the world.”
– Truth Wins Out
They continued: “It casually trashes LGBT people as living ‘destructive lifestyles.’ Living Hope, the creator of the app, repeatedly belittles transgender people as suffering from ‘gender confusion.’”
Truth Wins Out also claimed that the app suggests the “gay lifestyle” is “spiritually and physically harmful.”
“‘Ex-gay’ programs are a sham. They don’t work, they destroy lives and they are condemned by every respectable medical and mental health organization in the world.
“The American Psychiatric Association says that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) can lead to ‘anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behavior’, including suicide. So, why is Google offering a platform for such a mean-spirited and dangerous product?”
Conversion therapy has been branded ‘unethical’ and ‘harmful’
Earlier this week, human rights groups told Axios that they had written to Google and asked to meet representatives to raise their concerns about the app.
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However, they said that they had not received a satisfactory response from the company in “staff level” discussions.
The organisation behind the app exists to help people “seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,” according to DallasNews.com.
The group said last December that they would be asking Apple to reinstate their app.
LGBT+ charity Stonewall has branded conversion therapy as “unethical” and “harmful.”
The practice is defined as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.”