Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Peter Pointers Finds the Rotten Core in that Nasty Apple App

via Peter Pointers [Peter Pointers is LifeLube's gay health educator and is assisted by a group of qualified health specialists who work as a team to answer your health questions. Ask about your sexual health, physical health, mental/emotional and spiritual health.]

Apple has been receiving backlash for approving a “gay cure” iPhone app that recently hit the market. 

***As of yesterday, 3/22/11, Apple has yanked the application.  Here is a statement from an Apple spokesperson "We removed the exodus international app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people." ***

The app comes from Exodus International, an organization that claims it is “the world’s largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality that is committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth.”  Exodus supports those who “want to reconcile their faith with their sexual behavior by providing resources like outside counselors and support groups.” 

Read the group's press release "Apple Suppresses Diversity by Pulling iPhone Application."

Apple had given the app a rating of “4+” stars which means that it has been found to contain “no objectionable content,”  but many people feel otherwise.  There has been an outpouring of disagreement with Apple’s assessment of the app and, as of 3/22/11, over 150,000 people have signed a petition on to have the app taken off of the market.  This petition was started by Truth Wins Out, “an organization that counters right-wing misinformation campaigns, debunks the ex-gay myth, and provides accurate information about the lives of LGBT people.” They believe the app’s message is “hateful and bigoted.”  You can see the petition at the website and more information on the story can be found here

Even though Apple has removed the application, there is still a need to look deeper into the truth behind “gay reparative” therapy?  To find answers, I turned to some highly respected American organizations. 

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers have all issued statements or resolutions that oppose “reparative” or “conversion” therapies, also known as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE).  Links to some of these statements can be found here.

The American Psychological Association (APA) also released a report in 2009 called the “Report of the American Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.”  The report and reference for the summary of information below can be found here.

The APA has cautioned that research has not shown Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) to be effective.  Most medical and mental health experts agree that sexual orientation is not a “reversible lifestyle choice” or mental disorder, but a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.  The American Psychiatric Association’s position statement not only opposes “reparative therapy” based on its lack of scientific evidence base, but also acknowledges that attempts to define homosexuality as a mental disorder are simply attempts to discredit further social acceptance of LGB individuals by religiously or politically motivated groups and individuals.  

In addition, research has shown some evidence individuals experience harm from SOCE including loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality and anxiety. 

It is considered unethical for mental health practitioners to promise that changing one’s sexual orientation is possible, and they are encouraged to understand the desire that some individuals feel to change their orientation as a result of having been affected by minority stress, discrimination, and anti-gay stigma. 

For these reasons, many feel that Apple’s previous approval of Exodus International’s iPhone app condones the promotion of an unethical, and potentially harmful, “gay cure” and contributes to anti-gay stigma and intolerance. 

Keep your eye on this story as it continues.

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