US: Psychotherapists slam ‘gay cure’ app still available from Google app store

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An app still available in the Google Play app store, despite an international outcry, which prompted Apple to remove it from its app store in under 24 hours, has been condemned by LGBT psychotherapists as dangerous.

A petition started two weeks ago to urge the Google Play app store to ban a Christian app claiming to be able to “cure” homosexuality, has almost reached its 150,000 signatures target.

The app called Setting Captives Free claims: “Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, you do not have a ‘homosexual gene,’ nor were you born this way with no hope of freedom. You can be set free from the bondage of homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ and the cross!”

It claims that using a 60-day course, the app can “cure” homosexuality.

The app was banned from Apple’s App Store last week. A spokesperson for Google confirmed to PinkNews that the company is investigating the complaints made about the app.

Gaylesta, the LGBTQ Psychotherapist Association has written an open statement to Google, strongly condemning the app, and calling for Google to drop it, despite having issued no public statement on the issue.

The statement read: “Gaylesta has been outspoken and active in exposing the dangers of so called ‘reparative therapy.’  Homosexuality is not a condition or disorder that requires treatment. Striving to treat what is not a disorder is not therapy, it is professionalized homophobia. It is dangerous, and it is a threat to all LGBTQ people. Individuals who have undergone these treatments often have a significantly larger chance of becoming self destructive and suicidal.

“It is unconscionable to think that a smartphone application could be made available to the general public to help ‘treat’ homosexuality. This app poses a serious public health risk, putting the lives of unsuspecting people, including minors, at risk of harm, by telling them that their innate sexual orientation is wrong and needs to be changed. We ask that all smartphone application stores (including Google Play and iTunes) remove these applications from their stores immediately and that they further make it a policy to disallow such applications from being available in the future.”

Andre Banks, the Executive Director and Co-founder of All Out, reiterated the organisation’s stance on the issue, calling it “ridiculous”, that the app has remained for so long in the Google Play store.

He said: “Major health associations including the American Psychiatric Association and the Pan-American Health Organization have condemned so-called gay ‘cures’ as dangerous to people’s’ health.”

“It is absolutely ridiculous we still have to have this conversation in 2013. Gay people have always been part of the human experience and they always will. There is not a cure for love, because love is not a disease.”