Over 125,000 individuals have joined Truth Wins Out in petitioning Apple to remove a new app from Exodus International. As an umbrella organization for hundreds of “ex-gay ministries” worldwide, Exodus and its app promote the fraudulent and harmful idea that sexual orientation can (and should) be changed. Apple has allowed the app to persist in its store, despite removing a similar anti-gay app last summer.
Apple’s lengthy list of potential reasons for rejecting an app includes many that the Exodus International app arguably violates, such as:
Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected.
Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected.
Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.
Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.
Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations will be rejected.
Both the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association (among other groups) have indicated that efforts to change sexual orientation have no scientific credibility (“fraudulent”) and can cause psychological harm to patients. These groups also point out that such therapies are not guided by research, but a will to oppose the full civil rights of gays and lesbians, often increasing the stigmatization they experience (“defamatory”).
Last April, Sue Spivey and Christine Robinson of James Madison University published a study entitled “Genocidal Intentions: Social Death and the Ex-Gay Movement.” The study provided compelling evidence that the efforts of the ex-gay movement, as led by Exodus International, constitute four of the five definitions of genocide laid out by the United Nations.
Exodus International makes no secret of its effort to reach out to youth through its newly rebranded “Exodus Student Ministries.” In fact, in 2011, it put forth a new goal to “Simplify, Amplify, and Intensify” its focus on reaching young people with harmful, fraudulent messages. Exodus’ Student Blog features prominently on the new app, designed to take advantage of curiosities and insecurities young people have about their sexuality.
As of now, the Exodus International app continues to be available for download. It has a 4+ rating in the iTunes store, a rating that Apple reserves for apps that “contain no objectionable material.”
It look like Apple has pulled the app. Change.org reports that “if you try to access the controversial app this evening, this is the message you’ll get: “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the U.S. store.