Google has lost its pro-LGBTQ endorsement from HRC after refusing to delete a pro-conversion therapy app from its online store, reports Bloomberg News.
The tech giant, which recently earned a perfect score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) to measure LGBTQ inclusion at work, will now have its rating withheld until the app in question is no longer for sale on Google devices. According to a statement from HRC, it’s the third time in the CEI’s 17-year history that a positive rating has been suspended mid-controversy.
In a footnote on the 2019 CEI report, HRC explained the penalty:
During the CEI survey cycle, the HRC Foundation became aware of an app distributed in Google’s Play Store that supports the practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” so-called “conversion therapy” includes a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the CEI rating is suspended.
The app in question, made by the Texas-based Christian nonprofit Living Hope Ministries, made headlines as far back as last December. Living Hope Ministries insists it’s designed to promote a “more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ”; however, anti-conversion therapy advocates claim its actual impact on vulnerable queer youth could be far more sinister.
It's amazing @google is literally burning its relationship with the LGBT community to the ground in order to protect an "ex-gay" app that psychologically tortures LGBT kids. For a company with so many smart people, they really haven't thought this through.https://t.co/erQWzkdBt8
— Truth Wins Out (@truthwinsout) March 28, 2019
A Change.org petition urging Google to remove the app currently has more than 141,000 signatures.