Google finally pulls ‘conversion therapy’ app from store

Google has finally removed an app promoting harmful “gay conversion” practices from its online store following months of pressure from LGBTIQ groups and politicians.

Living Hope Ministries, the US-based Christian organisation behind the app, refers to gay and transgender people as “sexually broken” individuals and claims the “gay lifestyle is spiritually and physically harmful” and is “changeable through the power of Jesus Christ.”

“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

But Google had drawn criticism for not following the lead of other tech giants like Apple and Amazon, which were quick to pull the app from their stores in December after an online petition.

The app advised LGBTIQ people to “seek out a Christian therapist who has a redemptive perspective on homosexuality” to “recover” from being attracted to members of the same sex.

One article on the app suggests finding a counselor who has a “biblical understanding that homosexuality is changeable through the power of Jesus Christ.”

“Accept that you will need to separate yourself from the connection to the gay lifestyle,” material accessible on the app reads.

“Pictures, mementos, anything that connects you to your past is a propped-open door to the bondage of emotional and sexual sin.”

LGBTIQ groups, including activist group Truth Wins Out and New South Wales health organisation ACON, accused the app’s creators of promoting dangerous “gay conversion” therapy.

“We are delighted that Google finally backed down and deleted a dangerous app that targeted LGBTQ youth with toxic messages of guilt and shame,” Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen said.

“It is still unfathomable why Google stubbornly defended the indefensible for months, when the hateful and destructive content in this app should have been self-evident.

“We hope this sends a powerful message that ‘pray away the gay’ products are unacceptable and have no place in a decent and civilized society.”

“Gay conversion” or “ex-gay” therapies have been discredited and condemned as dangerous by numerous bodies around the world and a report released last year documented the long-term harm the therapies had done to Australian survivors.

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