Google said this week that it would
remove a controversial “ex-gay” app from its Play Store,
reversing a previous decision not to do so.
The announcement came a day after the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights
advocate, said that it had suspended Google from its 2019 Corporate
Equality Index (CEI), which ranks companies on their commitment to
LGBT rights. Google earned a perfect score of 100 on last year's
The app is from Living Hope Ministries,
a Christian conservative group that supports therapies that attempt
to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people. Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
“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,” HRC said
in a statement. “Pending remedial steps by the company to address
this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the CEI rating
“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.
Truth Wins Out, a group opposed to such
therapies, previously called on digital stores to remove the app.
Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft complied, but Google said that the app
did not violate its terms of service.
More than 140,000 people signed a
change.org petition demanding Google “stop peddling dangerous
pray away the gay' app targeting LGBT youth.”
HRC President Chad Griffin applauded
Google's decision to remove the app.
“Google and other platforms that have
pulled this app are taking an important step in protecting LGBTQ
youth,” Griffin said.