Google Still Won’t Pull the Gay Conversion Therapy App Banned by Apple, Amazon, Microsoft

Why won't Google meet with LGBTQ advocates or speak on its decision to keep a dangerous app on its platform?

Pressure continues to mount on Google for ignoring calls to pull an app promoting the dangerous and scientifically debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” which claims to be able to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Google has met months of questioning from the LGBTQ community with silence, allowing the app by Living Hope Ministries, a non-profit Christian group based in Arlington, Texas, to remain up even as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have removed it.

Google headquarters
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Google’s terms of service are less broad, Axios notes. But advocates point to the higher rates of self-harm and suicide attempts among youths forced to undergo conversion therapy when compared to their counterparts who did not experience attempts at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity as running afoul of Google’s policies against encouraging self-harm and child endangerment.

At time of writing, nearly 140,000 people have signed a petition calling on Google to pull the app, which, according to Axios, has been downloaded roughly 1,000 times.

“Every minute this heinous product is available on these platforms, the potential exists for it to harm LGBT youth,” Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen said in a statement, after Apple announced it was removing it.

Google has so far not met with LGBTQ rights groups, despite their efforts to speak with the company about its decision, although there have reportedly been staff-level meetings.

“We are hopeful that technology companies recognize the harm of apps that promote conversion therapy. The Trevor Project hears from conversion therapy survivors in crisis every day, and we remain committed to ending the harmful practice in every state because we know it contributes to an increased risk of suicidal behavior among LGBTQ youth,” said Trevor Project CEO Amit Paley.

“We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBTQ youth and also clearly violates the company’s own standards. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have taken action to remove the app from their platforms, but so far Google has refused despite our warnings about the dangers,” said a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson.

Only 15 states, and the District of Columbia, currently have bans against conversion therapy against minors. There is an ongoing effort to prohibit the practice nationwide.

Major medical associations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all come out against the practice.

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