'Is My Son Gay?' App Hits Android Market
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UPDATE: Google has apparently pulled the app from the Android Market, following pressure from advocacy groups. Neither the French nor the English version is currently available for download. Developing.
"Is My Son Gay?," a new app available in the Android Market, has a rather simple premise: It claims to determine, through a series of 20 questions, whether or not the survey-taker's offspring is, in fact, a homosexual. And yet despite this simplicity of purpose, the app is--surprise!--incredibly controversial.
The Android app was made by French developers "Emmene Moi" (Eng.: "Bring Me"), whose only previous work was on "Mon Fils Est-Il Gay?" (Eng.: "Is My Son Gay?"). The English version of "Mon Fils Est-Il Gay?" looks to be a straight translation from the French, as the app's description in the Android Market appears to have been ripped from a computerized service like Babelfish. Here is the description:
You're questioning yourself? 20 questions to know more about your son. After this test you'll have the proven answer to a question you might have since maybe a long time.
The app itself is a 20-question survey of "Yes" or "No" questions designed to identify your son's sexual preference. Via rue89, and translated into English by resident HuffPost French speaker Alice Hines, these questions are:
1. Does he like to dress up nicely? Does he pay close attention to his outfits and brand names?
2. Does he like football?
3. Before he was born did you wish he would be a girl?
4. Has he ever gotten into or participated in a fight?
5. Does he read sports magazines?
6. Does he have a best friend
7. Does he like team sports?
8. Is he prudish/modest?
9. Does he like diva singers?
10. Does he spend a long time in the bathroom
11. Does he have a tongue, nose or ear piercing
12. Does he spend time getting ready before being seen in public?
13. Have you asked yourself questions about your son's sexual orientation?
14. Are you divorced?
15. Does he like musical comedies?
16. Has he introduced you to a girlfriend ever?
17. Is the father (you) very strict or authoritarian with his son?
18. In your family is the father absent?
19. Was he shy as a child?
20. Is he close to his father?
Reaction around the Internet has not been kind. Gay-friendly Instinct Magazine said that the app is based on the "science of tired and offensive stereotypes," while Jezebel laments the app's "horrible, stereotypical questions." The app is not entirely homophobic, apparently, as Jezebel reports that, if your son is determined to not be gay, the app says "No need to look the other way! ... He is gay! ... ACCEPT IT! ..."
So, silver linings. This conclusion may also protect the app from expulsion from the Android Market, as the Developer Program Policies state that content may be removed for several reasons, most relevantly for
Hate Speech: We don't allow the promotion of hatred toward groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.
So, does this app promote hatred against a sexual orientation? Neither Google nor Emmene Moi immediately responded to request for comment, though with the amount of media attention this app has gained in America, Google should decide soon.
Controversial apps seem to pop up every now and then, the most high-profile ones coming from Apple's App Store. Earlier in September Apple pulled the (also) French-made "Jew Or Not Jew?" Jewish celebrity identifier from its store after complaints; in March, Apple yanked a "Gay Cure" app that used Biblical teachings to help homosexuals become straight. Google has had its own app controversies, too. The Android Market came under fire in March 2011 for not pulling virtual dogfighting game "Dog Wars" from its digital shelves, despite a public outcry from prominent animal rights activists.
UPDATE: Developers Enneme Moi have responded to request for statement in French. This is the statement from "the person who order the development of the application to the agency," according to the developers.
"This app was conceived with a playful approach," they wrote. "It is not based at all on scientific research... Through humor, "Is My Son Gay?" and the forthcoming novel have the sole objective of toning down/improving the situation and helping mothers to accept their sons' homosexuality."
Do you think the "Is My Son Gay" app should be banned from the Android Market? Weigh in via our QuickPoll. Then, check out nine of the most controversial apps removed from the Apple's App Store (below):
Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigrant
Boston-based developer Owlchemy Labs irked immigrant advocate groups with this iPhone game that allows users to drive a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/smuggle-truck-operation-immigration-rejected-by-apple_n_854899.html" target="_hplink">truck full of immigrants</a> through the desert. According to the AP, "[Developer Alex] Schwartz said he wanted to bring attention to immigration issues." But Apple banned the app from the App Store.
U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Udall and Harry Reid pressured Apple, Google and RIM earlier this spring to remove smartphone apps that notify users of nearby police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/senators-ask-apple-to-ban-dui-checkpoint-alert-apps_n_839300.html" target="_hplink">DUI checkpoints</a>. Apple and RIM have since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/09/apple-dui-checkpoint-apps-ban_n_874532.html" target="_hplink">complied</a> with the Seantors' demands and cracked on so-called "DUI checkpoint" apps, but Google has yet to take action.
Despite initially passing Apple's standards, the allegedly anti-gay messages promoted by the app "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/apple-exodus-international-app_n_839448.html" target="_hplink">Exodus International</a>" outraged thousands of customers. The Exodus International ministry, from which the app takes its name, <a href="http://blog.exodusinternational.org/about/http://blog.exodusinternational.org/about/" target="_hplink">promotes</a> "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." After more than 150,000 signatures were gathered for an online petition, Apple removed the app from the App Store entirely.
Hugh Hefner claimed in January that "Playboy" would soon come <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/21/playboy-ipad-app-blocked-_n_812489.html" target="_hplink">uncensored on the iPad</a>. Apple, however, remains firm on its nudity-free policy within the App Store and forced "Playboy" to resort to a low resolution web app instead.
The <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/20/apple-removes-wikileaks-app-from-app-store/" target="_hplink">unofficial WikiLeaks application</a> lasted only three days in the App Store before being banned by Apple.
'The Importance Of Being Earnest'
Apparently Apple's censors worried that Tom Bouden's graphic novel version of Oscar Wilde's <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/14/apple-censors-gay-kiss-in_n_611553.html" target="_hplink">The Importance of Being Earnest</a></em>, which portrays illustrations of nude or partially nude men embracing, would be too objectionable for too many users. Apple approved the app, but only with black boxes covering controversial frames. However, the App Store later reversed its decision and passed the app without the censor bars.
Big Brother Camera Security
In 2010, Apple approved the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/15/apple-bans-big-brother-camera-security-iphone-passcodes_n_877481.html" target="_hplink">Big Brother Camera Security app</a>, which lets users remotely photograph someone who is improperly trying to access their stolen or lost iPhone. In June 2010, however, the app was removed from the App Store following accusations that the developer was "surreptitiously harvesting user passwords."
Apple removed the app called "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/23/apple-removes-anti-israel-thirdintifada-app_n_882857.html" target="_hplink">ThirdIntifada</a>" from the App Store, following complaints made by Israel's information minister, Yuli Edelstein and Jewish human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center. The app was said to promote violence against Israel, according to claims.
Apple initially approved so-called "anti-gay" app <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/apple-manhattan-declaration-app_n_788075.html" target="_hplink">Manhattan Declaration</a>, but the App Store later removed the program following a wave of complaints--and a petition--from outraged customers. The app asked users to sign a "declaration," which according to the app "speaks in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty."