Gays No Longer Curable via iPhone!

Look down right now. Is that a MacBook in your lap? What kind of iPod do you own? OH MY GOD IS THAT AN IPAD?! YOU FLASHY BITCH. Now look back up and listen to me: Apple did something recently that will upset you, then redeemed themselves, and now are victims of the 24/7 news cycle.

A few days ago, an app was accepted at the app store that “cures gays.” The app was developed by Exodus International, a religious group into the teaching of “freedom from homosexuality.” They do this, of course, because being gay is “one of many conditions that beset fallen humanity,” and they want to help you!, through prayer and the Internet. The app even got a rating that indicated it was not offensive to anyone, ever. So, what the fuck?

Well, gay activists reigned in on Apple and demanded they go back to the day of their rainbow logo, when they didn’t care what God had to say:

And hence, a petition circulated….and circulated… demanding Apple remove the app because of how offensive it was to LGBTQ people. It blew up  to over 140,000 signatures pretty much overnight and here are the results:

Exodus International’s president, Alan Chambers, confirmed through Twitter that his group’s app had been removed on Tuesday night: “It’s official. The @ExodusInl App is no longer in the @AppleStore. Incredibly disappointing. Watch out, it could happen to you.”

Apple pulled the app from the store and apparently, they didn’t even send a follow-up text. Exodus said they had no idea why, and claimed the app would help people “struggling” with their sexualities. Apple re-evaluated the decision to provide the app after the petition was brought to their attention, and surprise! Apple realized that something of this app’s caliber was really fucked up:

The app, launched in mid-February, initially received a 4+ approval rating from Apple, meaning it did not contain any “objectionable material.”

However, upon review, it seems Apple decided the app did not in fact meet its editorial guidelines.

“We removed the Exodus International app from the app store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr told FoxNews.com.

Thank a higher being for that! If you’re not a part of the iTunes format, you’re probably not on any Apple products. It would involve an incredible amount of tech work to make a non-Apple app work on any Apple device. So, this means the app is now gone never to be seen again for a while hopefully. And you thought getting a flu shot was hard!

The app was specifically targeted at younger people, aka people going through their sexuality crises and falling in love with their best friends and stuff. You’ve been there. So this adds another layer to the whole thing: if people capitalizing on mobile technology are young people and this is what they see in the Apple store, WHERE IS THERE HOPE FOR GAY PEOPLE EVER? Exodus’ insistence that it is their “right” under the Constitution to market their “opinion” on equality this way is bullshit, and nobody should pretend it isn’t bullshit. Unfortunately this is another example of people misinterpreting their constitutional rights — freedom of speech protects you from imprisonment or other government actions regardless of what you say/do. But it doesn’t mean a store has to carry your product or that nobody can boycott your business, that has nothing to do with it. What is wrong with people.

Shame on Apple for ever approving the app in the first place and shame on Exodus for trying to target newgays on their turf with such a stupid message.

In closing, the app is not for sale. Thank God. But unfortunately, Exodus still exists.

Avatar of Carmen

Carmen currently serves as the Deputy Straddlerverse Editor for Autostraddle, mostly because she's in love with you crazy queers. She's mother to the most adorable dog on Earth and hates paying more than one dollar for a good slice of pizza. At times, she self-identifies as "the baddest bitch." You should follow her on Twitter and Tumblr probably because it makes her feel good about herself.

Carmen has written 508 articles for us.

40 Comments

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    Fortunately, I already have the app and it has been a blessing; I was very encouraged to discover that an organization like Exodus International is there and committed to assisting people like myself to glorify God in the manner I see fit, which is according to my interpretation of the Bible and the will of God for my life.

    Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion here.

    Rod

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        Hi Kitt87,
        I happened on to this site through a Google search of the word “iPhone”; I was looking for the latest iPhone news. This article was the first in the list of results; it looked interesting so I read it and responded.

        Rod

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          Who googles “iPhone”?

          And this is only tangentially related, but the search string “iPhone” contains four out of five letters that are in the word “penis.” I am just saying 80% is a statistically significant number that clearly has nothing to do with anything, obviously.

          Good luck on your spiritual quest, Rod. I know in these trying times, amidst this terrible strife, and the pervasive detritus of the devastation of homosexuality, it must be hard, Rod. Very hard.

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          funny story, rod, that’s almost exactly how i found out tegan and sarah exist…i was looking up a list of christian saints on the wiki, and it wanted to make sure i didn’t mean their new album, sainthood, which, as it turned out, i did :)

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      Dear Rod,

      I hope you find happiness in your life. However, if you choose not to live a “gay lifestyle” then I also wish you eternal celibacy. Because no woman should have to be in a relationship with someone who’s not attracted to her. That’s just not fair. Unless maybe you found some ex-lesbian who was of the same mindset as you? Worst sex ever, but at least no one would be getting shafted. Literally.

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    Maybe I’m imagining things, but wasn’t there some kind of scandal re: an incredibly horrible transphobic app being approved a year or so ago? I feel like Apple needs to start getting their shit together on this kind of thing. Who is approving this stuff??

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    So if I’m understanding you correctly you needed an application in order for you to further your relationship with God? And just throwing it out there but there is no “cure” for being gay because it’s not a choice.

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      Hi Taylor,

      The app provides access to useful resources and to people who are committed to assisting individuals like myself who have a personal belief that homosexuality is not compatible with the will of the God of the Bible and therefore does not glorify Him.

      Rod

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      Well, getting sick isn’t a choice either, but some sickness can still be cured :-P

      Rod: Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there is actually no evidence at all that god exists… So you can stop caring about what some random people 1400 years ago thought about homosexuality, just relax and be gay!

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    The salient part for me is the phrase “Shame on Apple for ever approving the app in the first place”

    As far I am concerned there is no redeeming themselves since they did first approve it for their store.

    Its like saying “we’re ok with homophobia, but if enough people complain and it might hurt our business, then maybe we’ll back off”

    To me that is reprehensible…..

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      I suspect they have an automated approvals process that just looks for words like “ass pounding” and approves or rejects based on that. Considering the volume of apps that come into the store, they’d need a *lot* of manpower to manually select!

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    Am I imagining things or was Apple not in hot water over a ridiculously transphobic app about a year or so ago? They really need to start getting their shit together about this kind of thing – I mean, glad they did something about it once they were called on it, but who is approving this crap in the first place?!

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    While Apple may have the right to offer whatever apps they want, ultimately, a “can” is not a “should.” While I’m sure this won’t convince the true believers who probably made up the majority of the apps’ users, there are plenty of others who could have seen the presence of the app in the Apple store as the company’s implicit endorsement of ex-gay ministries, thereby lending them a legitimacy they don’t deserve.

    I think people forget that the world is not divided into people who are unequivocally opposed to queer rights and those who are unequivocally supportive. There are a lot of people in the middle who can be swayed by these actions. I’m glad Apple woke up to this and pulled the plug on this shameful, harmful app.

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    Also, Rod’s comments just make me feel incredibly thankful that I won’t ever feel the need to hide my sexuality. My dad is a pastor and he has no problem with my bisexuality. Even as someone who ended up as an agnostic, I’m thankful that the model of religion I was raised with was one where I didn’t feel like I would be punished for being myself.

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    I’m honestly a bit torn on this. I totally agree that the first amendment has no legal role in this debate. Apple has every right to determine which apps are worthy of official Itunes App Store placement, but my hesitation to praise Apple for kicking Exodus International’s app comes from a deep belief in the power of free speech. I’m talking about John Stuart Mill style open discussion. The kind of speech that strengthens democracy. The speech that allows people to see many sides of the argument rather than dismissing some out of hand. The kind of speech I want at my private university despite me having no Constitutional legal grounds to demand it.

    I mean, if Apple just happened to be run by anti-homogay bigots, apps like Grindr and GayCities would be the ones booted from the App store. Of course, if the tables were flipped, pro-homogay activists would have every right to boycott Apple and demand they stop being bigoted.

    It’s just that, personally, I’m ok with an App store that has room for the Exodus International haters and homogay lovers. Isn’t that what real life is like?

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      I’m usually a fan of the free-speech approach too (for example, I disagreed with Carmen re: the Westboro Baptist Church being allowed to protest at funerals), and I agree that Apple has the right to continue the app if they want. But it’s not as simple as that. Exodus International’s methods aren’t just a “different viewpoint” – they are a specific medical practice which has been condemned by just about every major medical organization in the U.S. as both ineffective and, more importantly, harmful. In that case, Apple keeping this app in its store is more like a toy store continuing to carry a toy truck even after finding it has lead in it. It’s promoting something (because, I’m sorry, if they put something in their store, and give it a high rating, you are, in a sense, endorsing it) that is unhealthy, and people will take that seriously because Apple is a well-known and respected company.

      As the Rod guy above shows, people who have the app can still use it; it’s still out there. It’s just that Apple is no longer selling it in its store. It’s not censoring it so much as taking away its stamp of approval.

      And while that is not going to stop the true believers from seeing it as legitimate, the fact that Apple is pulling its stamp of approval from this will make it less likely that others will take Exodus International seriously. Regardless, though, we will still be engaging with them in “Millian open discussion” on the various other forums that living in a free society gives us.

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      Thing is, the First Amendment is dealing with things that the government do, not things that private individuals and corporations do. (That’s why, for example, Autostraddle can moderate away negative comments on Calendar Girl posts.)

      I don’t think Exodus’s app should be illegal just because I disagree with it (although one could argue it’s damaging to public health, which invokes the whole “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre” thing), but I do think that Apple has every right to deny the app.

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    i downloaded the app. it wasn’t very well made. it was mostly testimonials and FAQs on how parents and loved ones could handle being sufficiently preachy and non-supportive of their gay child, ie “we still love you even if you’re a horrible sinner and definitely going to hell over your choice of lifestyle.” anyway it didn’t make me any straighter than my lightsaber or scrabble apps did.

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