Google Clings to 'Conversion' App Targeting LGBTQs

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday March 22, 2019

Months after Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple dropped an app that allegedly shills so-called "conversion therapy," Google still provides the app a platform — despite the practice having been outlawed for minors in a number of states, condemnation from reputable mental health professionals, a petition with nearly 140,000 signers, and efforts from LGBTQ advocates to convince the company to take the app down, reports Axios.

EDGE covered the story earlier this year, noting that the app seemingly targets "young adults" and suggests that it is possible for sexual minorities to transform themselves into heterosexuals.

The app's creator, an organization called Living Hope Ministries, told the media that they "journey with individuals who seek out our help and help as they pursue a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ."

A relationship, that is, in which gay and lesbian app users are expected to reject their own innate and natural desire for intimacy with someone of the same gender. As the Axios article put it, the app "aims to convince people that their same-sex sexual attractions are both sinful and changeable."

Mental health experts disagree, saying that the practice is not effective and can be damaging. The Axios article addressed the negative consequences, citing a study that suggests that LGBTQ youth whose parents subject them to "conversion therapy" are more than twice as likely to make attempts on their own lives than youths who are not subject to such treatment.

Fox News reported on Axios' article, casting the story as a matter of Google standing firm against LGBTQ advocates. Fox News noted that the app's makers insist they are not actually telling anyone to get such therapy or offering it through the app, which is alleged to contain sermons on the subject, as well as claims from people who say they used to be gay but no longer are.

Google has declined to meet with LGBTQ advocacy leaders.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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