Monday, March 21, 2011

"Curing" Gay People - There's an app for that

Exodus InternationalImage via Wikipedia"Exodus International, the notorious "ex-gay" organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is "designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders." The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains "no objectionable content." No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus' message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer "freedom from homosexuality...

Exodus International, the notorious "ex-gay" organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is "designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders." The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains "no objectionable content."

No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus' message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ" and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients. They endorse the use of so-called "reparative therapy" to "change" the sexual orientation of their clients, despite the fact that this form of "therapy" has been rejected by every major professional medical organization including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association. But reparative therapy isn't just bad medicine -- it's also very damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of its victims.

This new iPhone app is the latest move in Exodus' dangerous new strategy of targeting youth. In light of the recent wave of LGBT youth suicides, this tactic is particularly galling as it creates, legitimizes, and fuels the ostracism of LGBT youth by their families. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their family were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs (Caitlin Ryan, San Francisco State University, June 2009).

Apple's app guidelines released in September last year detailed rules on how the company decides what can and cannot be sold through its store: "Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected," the company states.

Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it is giving the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a "sin that will make your heart sick" and a "counterfeit." This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.

Apple needs to be told, loud and clear, that this is unacceptable. Stand with Truth Wins Out -- demand that the iTunes store stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app." (All text from Change.org)

If you find this app to be similarly objectionable, you can sign the petition over at Change.org which will be delivered to Steve Jobs.

 Demand that Apple remove "ex-gay" iPhone app






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1 comment:

  1. I'm not gay, but religious-fundamentalist motivated BS like this is one of the reasons I fled America in preference for the UK years ago (Ronald Reagan was a separate reason, but that's another story...).

    One of my older son's school friends came out a few years ago at the age of 16 and, frankly, it was a bit of a 'ho-hum' moment among their larger group of friends. It made the lad's life happier letting everyone know, but beyond that it was pretty much a non-issue. However, if it had happened in a community this size back in my part of the USA (the deep south), I doubt things would've gone as smoothly.

    Here's something funny about Exodus International (although I'm sure they didn't find it amusing): in 2000, their chairman of the board, a man named John Paulk, was observed by two gay activists during a lengthy visit to a gay bar in Washington, DC. After initially denying it, Paulk admitted to visiting the bar ("Mr. P's"), but denied he was there for "male companionship" (but why else would anyone go to a gay bar?). He retained his position on the board of Exodus but was denied voting rights until he went through a "period of restoration," and subsequently left the organisation.

    That's not the first time an Exodus member talked the talk while not walking the walk. In 1979, two of its founding members, Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, left their wives for each other, and they remained together until Cooper died of AIDS some years later.

    People don't choose to be gay any more than I "chose" to be straight. We are all what we are. Exodus is an evil, evil organisation.

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