Thousands sign petition to get rid of gay ‘cure’ apps

Report by Kieran Watkins


A petition asking Google and Apple to reject apps attempting to ‘cure’ people of being gay has been signed by more than 100,000 people.

The ‘Google: No Apps for Gay Cures’ petition was set up on May 29, 2013 to urge the technology giants to rid their online stores of the controversial applications, which have been deemed “harmful” and denounced by leading organisations and governments worldwide.

It came in response to one app available to download on Apple iTunes and Google Play called ‘Setting Captives Free’, which claimed it could teach you how to stop being gay.

The free download states it is “Christ-centred”, and helps people “find freedom from habitual sins and learn to grow in grace”.

According to their website, more than 418,879 people have benefited from Setting Captives Free, although the app has a 1.7 out of 5 star rating on Google’s marketplace.

The petition argues however that the apps are harming the LGBT community.

Writing on the petition page, it states: “’Gay cures’ pray on people who are deeply worried they might be gay, convincing them that they have a serious illness.

“That can lead desperate people to depression or suicide.”

Such practises like the objectives behind ‘Setting Captives Free’ have been denounced by organisations including the America Psyciatric Association and the Pan-America Health Organization, as well as many governments.

Users of Google Play have also condemned the free download. Commenting on the app listing on Google’s marketplace, Josh Campbell said the app was “absolutely disgusting”, whilst Mickey Ricci called the application “bigoted”.

In just 24 hours from the launch of the petition, the app disappeared off the iTunes store, but remains on the Google marketplace.

With 164,658 signatures so far, help the petition reach its goal of 200,000 by signing here.


The trouble with bisexuality

Emily Magdij asks why so many bisexual young people feel excluded from their own movement.


The problem with being bisexual is that it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

To a lot of straight people, we’re undecided attention seekers. We might be implored to “just pick a side”, or perhaps, if we’re in a monogamous relationship, asked why we bother to identify as bisexual at all. To a lot of gays and lesbians, we are poseurs. Children playing at being oppressed who will grow out of their “phase” and settle down into one camp or the other – not to be taken seriously until we do.

To a lot of bisexuals themselves, it means an uncomfortable feeling of not belonging.

We’re left in a curious limbo. Though I have been sexually attracted to mostly women my whole life, my blasé attitude to sex with men left me unwilling to identify as queer – it felt like I was being disrespectful, somehow. Like I was crossing a line into territory where I was not welcome. It’s a feeling that comes with the territory of being bisexual: the feeling of being an ally, and not a proper sexuality at all.

Though we are right there in the name (LGBT), many of us feel like hangers-on, and like we have no say in real queer politics because we aren’t real queers. Never mind that we experience the same oppression when we have gay relationships, and never mind that we encounter the same difficulties in love and sex. There seems to be the feeling that just because we find the opposite sex attractive sometimes, we should be exclusively relegated to that.

I had the pleasure of being invited to a bisexuality forum not very long ago, and, excited that there might be a good place to discuss these sorts of issues, I encouraged some of my other bisexual or otherwise spectrumed queer friends to come along. My excitement did not last.

The talk was terrible. Run by someone who identified with a queer-theory variation of bisexuality, it made me uncomfortable first by being inaccessible to non-radicals, and then made me irritated when the main issues addressed turned out not to be bisexuality related at all. The uncomfortable feeling of not belonging, or of seeing yourself in an ally position, was never addressed. We talked about how inclusive LGBT+ is becoming, but the conversation changed to academia and politics, and I saw shifting in seats.

My friends are not as political as me. They came to the talk because they wanted to feel like they belonged. Instead, they were alienated further because not everyone wants to spend their life involved in queer theory. The bi-erasure that happened as the conversation moved on to loftier concepts was the worst irony of all.

Queer politics and radicalism are fine, good, and important. But they aren’t as important as making the initial reach to our own community. Bisexuality and sexual fluidity are too often derided outside of the radical crowd, and politicised within it. Far too many bisexuals start out like me: thinking they have no right to speak in a crowd, and feeling further pushed away from our cause when the only queers who seem to want to understand them are the ones who will jump down their throats for not being radical in their politics.

The LGBT community has come a long way. We are vibrant, proud, and incredibly diverse. But we have internal problems that cannot be ignored. The world is starting to accept us – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to keep our own house in order.