Prodded by fierce public backlash, Google just pulled an app that celebrated gay conversion therapy and disparaged the “destructive lifestyles” of LGBTQ people.
The app, from Living Hope Ministries, dismissed transgender people as humans suffering from “gender confusion,” derided gay men as “sexually broken guys,” and said all queer people live under “false identities.” The app included anti-gay articles about men, women, and their families.
“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,” Google said in a statement Thursday.
Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft’s platforms had already removed the app. A Change.org petition, which said the app had a “pray away the gay” message and urged Google to get rid of it, gathered more than 142,000 signatures by Thursday. A separate Change.org petition calling for the app to be reinstated has just 49 signatures.
The group Truth Wins Out, which fights anti-gay religious groups and started the petition, said it reached out to Google back in December, as well as other tech companies. Only Google delayed the removal, according to the group.
“The surprising silence from Google is in stark contrast with the corporation’s stated policies of inclusion, respect and diversity,” the petition said. “So why hasn’t the company taken action?”
Conversion therapy, which seeks to “reverse” LGBTQ people’s sexual preferences and gender identities, has been rejected as a viable treatment form by medical and mental health organizations for decades. But it’s still legal in most U.S. states.
“So-called conversion therapy is a debunked practice that's tantamount to child abuse and is proven to have dangerous consequences for its victims,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement celebrating the app’s removal. “Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.”
Cover image: Scores of LGBTQ and allied high school students from across the state of Minnesota march Thursday, March 21, 2019 to the State Capitol where they held a rally on the steps to urge lawmakers to protect LGBTQ Minnesotans and youth from the effects of so-called conversion "therapy." (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.