- Google is resisting calls to remove what appears to be a “conversion therapy” app for gay people from its Google Play store.
- Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have banned the app, created by the US Christian group Living Hope Ministries.
- A petition on Change.org calling for the app’s removal has received more 140,000 signatures, and LGBTQ activists are trying to meet with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
- Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Google is resisting pressure to remove what appears to be a “conversion therapy” app for gay people from the Google Play store after Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft all banned the service.
The app in question is the creation of a US Christian group called Living Hope Ministries. It shares the group’s name in the app store and has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.
Critics say it wants people to “pray away the gay,” encouraging young people identifying as LGBTQ to try to become heterosexual through a mixture of therapy and prayer.
A petition on Change.org calling for the app’s removal has received more 140,000 signatures, and a representative for the Human Rights Campaign reportedly described the app as “life-threatening” to LGBTQ young people.
Axios said “several major LGBTQ rights groups” had written to Google CEO Sundar Pichai hoping to secure a meeting about the app but were unsuccessful.
Google declined comment to Axios. The company did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement on its website, Living Hope Ministries describes itself as proclaiming “a Christ-centered, Biblical world-view of sexual expression rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage for life.” It adds that “anything less than this ideal, falls short of God’s best for humanity.”
Google’s refusal to remove the Living Hope Ministries app sits uncomfortably with some of its recent actions and statements on LGBTQ issues.
In a statement on its website Diversity.google, Google says it has “embraced a refreshed and accelerated approach to diversity and inclusion,” and in 2015 the tech giant publicly backed the Equality Act, a proposed bill meant to protect LGBTQ people in the US from discrimination.
Google recently faced criticism for refusing to remove another controversial app. That app, Absher, created by the Saudi government, lets men track and control where women travel.