’Ex Gay’ App Fire Storm Rages On
Outrage and opposition to an iPhone application created by "ex gay" group Exodus International continues to grow, with critics lambasting the app, Exodus, and Apple, Inc., which lists the application as having a "4+" rating ("no objectionable material").
Moreover, opponents of the Exodus app say they are preparing to picket Apple, with Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen issuing a statement slamming the app as being "from an organization that promotes gay exorcisms, demonizes LGBT people, and is rejected by every respected mental health association in America."
"[W]e will take steps to ensure that Apple meets the victims of ’ex-gay’ ministries and learns how their lives were destroyed," Besen’s statement said.
Besen did not call for a boycott of Apple products. In a recent EDGE article, Besen noted that boycotting efforts must be highly organized and extremely well financed to be effective.
"Several years ago, he called for a boycott on Jamaica and its goods for an increasingly virulent homophobic climate and laws that persecuted LGBT individuals," the earlier EDGE article noted of Besen. "While he captured the media’s attention for a moment, Besen ultimately describes the effort as ’the biggest failure of (his) entire career.’ "
"This is a country that is run on money more than ever before," Besen told EDGE. "Money is speech, which of course means some people have a lot more speech than others. Money doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, but absence of money almost guarantees you’ll lose."
Even so, the groundswell of anger and disdain generated by the app only grew in the days following its release.
"Over the course of time we have seen some apps that are highly offensive, but this one sinks to a new... low," declared a March 21 posting at blog Womanist Musings.
The posting was titled, "Really Apple? LGBT People Can’t Be "Cured" With an APP," a heading that reflected the perception that the app purports to "cure" gays.
Elsewhere online, another news headline claimed, "App Approved By Apple To Make Gay People Straight."
Exodus International described the app as a resource rather than a "cure" for homosexuality in and of itself.
"It is our desire to create resources that are easily accessible and helpful for today’s culture," text at the group’s site said. "We hope to reach a broader demographic and readily provide information that is crucial for many seeking hope and encouragement."
The website said that the application would enable users to find a variety of content, including "Latest News... Real Stories... Real Answers... Podcasts... Event... [and] Responding to Bullying."
Among the "events" that the application lists are "Love Won Out" seminars in various cities. "Love Won Out" is an "ex gay" project run by anti-gay group Focus on the Family. Its seminars claim that with prayer and therapy, gays can "convert" to heterosexuality. "Love Won Out" has made the controversial assertion that "same-sex attraction is a preventable and treatable condition."
Critics of the application made themselves known even at the Exodus site.
"About all I can say for this app is that if someone feels the need to take the Pepsi Challenge for their gayness, this gives them a chance to put their toe in while deciding if they want to subject themselves to the full hard sell," wrote one individual.
"Wonder if we can we expect a followup app for heterosexuals interested in swinging the other way?" wrote another.
A third noted, "[It’s] extremely misleading to say ’Receiving a 4+ rating from Apple’--Apple doesn’t give this shit 4+ stars, your friends that are already like-minded have voted it as such. It is not Apple that is voting.
"The reason it got 4+ stars is because the people that would actually want and download this application have already made up their mind about it before they even downloaded it. If you’re a homophobe and someone posts a homophobe app, of course it will get high rankings, its reaffirming your own beliefs."
Next: A Mission of Love?