Google is pulling a so-called gay conversion app from its Play Store, after facing backlash and pressure from LGBTQ rights advocates.
The app was developed by the Texas-based Christian group Living Hope Ministries, an anti-gay organization that claims to help gay people change their sexuality. Google previously refused to remove the app, arguing it didn’t explicitly violate the company’s terms of service. Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft earlier dropped the app.
“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,” Google said in a statement.
Google’s decision to remove the app came less than a day after the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ rights group in the U.S., revoked its endorsement for the tech company. HRC released its 2019 Corporate Equality Index on Thursday and did not include Google, which previously scored a perfect 100.
HRC President Chad Griffin applauded Google for its decision to remove the app Friday. “So-called conversion therapy is a debunked practice that’s tantamount to child abuse and is proven to have dangerous consequences for its victims,” Griffin said in a statement. “Google and other platforms that have pulled this app are taking an important step to protect LGBTQ youth.”
Living Hope Ministries claimed it does not engage in conversion therapy. The Christian group wrote in an open letter to Apple earlier this year that it seeks to provide “a safe space for people, who struggle with SSA,” or same-sex attraction, which Gizmodo points out is terminology often used by far-right religious groups.
Other gay rights advocacy groups have commented on Google’s decision to drop the app, Axios reports.
Amit Paley, the CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth approved of Google in joining “the rest of the technology sector in its rightful rejection of the dangerous and discredited practice which harms the LGBTQ youth we serve each day.”