Mar 23, 2011

Scientist Calls on Apple to Denounce and Remove "Ex-Gay Therapy" App

Close to 100,000 people have contacted Apple, urging the company to remove an app from its iTunes store from Exodus International that peddles "ex-gay therapy" and promotes the idea that homosexuality can be "cured." Now another voice is joining the effort: a leading scientist from the University of Minnesota whose own research has been manipulated and misquoted by Exodus International in order to promote the concept of "conversion therapy" for LGBT people.

That scientist would be Dr. Gary Remafedi, who wrote a letter to Apple founder Steve Jobs and interim CEO Tim Cook letting them know that Exodus International's "ex-gay" app flies in the face of science, and violates the ethical codes and positions of virtually every major medical and mental health organization.

"Various professional organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental or physical condition. Programs which aim to change sexual orientation have been opposed because they are unwarranted, ineffective, unethical, and harmful," Dr. Remafedi writes.

Exodus has tried to use Dr. Remafedi's work on sexuality to justify their position that sexual orientation can be "changed" or "treated." On the Exodus website here, the group distorts a study from the University of Minnesota, suggesting that homosexuality is just a transitory phase that many young adults go through, and that eventually they'll grow out of it.

Dr. Remafedi, however, is correcting the record. Exodus is plain wrong here, and distorting research to fit their own anti-gay and unscientific agenda.

"Associating my work with that of the ex-gay ministry and other unfounded treatments is professionally injurious and grievous," Dr. Remafedi says in his letter to Jobs and Cook. He also adds that Apple shouldn't be a platform for proponents of "ex-gay" therapy to circulate and distribute the fraudulent and harmful message that sexual orientation can be "cured."

"From my perspective, the risk of offending and harming consumers by providing a platform for erroneous information about an important health and social topic far outweighs the potential financial gain. Arguably, corporations have no affirmative responsibility to vendors under the First Amendment of the Constitution, but they are accountable for the quality and consequences of their products," Dr. Remafedi concludes.

And there you have it. Apple is, at the end of the day, responsible for the content distributed through its platform, including this app from Exodus International. Nearly 100,000 people find it irresponsible for Apple to allow "ex-gay" therapy proponents to use their platform to tell LGBT youth that they should be "cured." Moreover, the Exodus app has been given a 4+ rating, suggesting that the app contains "no offensive material."

Help us keep the pressure up on Apple, and let's get them to drop this "ex-gay" app from the iTunes store. If you haven't added your name to the petition from Truth Wins Out on this, please do so here. And if you have, please circulate this action over Facebook and Twitter. Together, let's all send a message that businesses shouldn't legitimize the dangerous and damaging practice of "ex-gay" therapy.

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