Homophobic Android App Tests for Sexuality: ‘Sorry, you’re Gay’

App2 

The app store for Google's G1 phone on the Android platform is selling an app by Bendroid called "Straight?" in the Android Marketplace, Jason Dabrowski reports.
It's a program in which the user touches a finger to the phone's touchscreen, which then broadcasts one of two messages, either "You are the man" or "Sorry, Sweety, you are."

After the app was flagged, a Google employee posted the following response: "Regarding this specific case, though the app may be offensive to some, it is not in violation. Stereotypes in and of themselves do not constitute hate against a group."

App1

Comments

  1. bobbyjoe says

    “Stereotypes in and of themselves do not constitute hate against a group.”

    So, let me see if I get this right: Google is saying that were someone to introduce an app that “tested” for race or religion and the choices were either “Congratulations, you’re white” or “Congratulations, you’re a Christian” or else you got a screen that said something like “Sorry, you’re black” or “Sorry, you’re Asian” or “Sorry, you’re a Muslim,” then Google wouldn’t have a problem with that?

    Someone ought to test that theory. Somehow I suspect it wouldn’t hold up to much scrutiny.

  2. says

    Imagine if, as Jason said, the app was about race, and when you “scanned” your fingerprint, you got one of two responses –

    “You’re white! You’re the man!”
    or
    “Sorry, you’re…” and instead of the rainbow flag there was a symbol of black pride.

    The “Sorry” is equating being gay with a negative. They are trying to ride the lines of semantics, but all you have to do is exchange sexuality for race and the deeply offensive nature of this app is clear.

    I am sick and tired of the thinly veiled attacks on gays and lesbians that seem to be utterly permeating our culture these days. I find it truly disturbing. We are being blamed for everything from hurricanes to moral decay. These smears and stereotypes are very dangerous. Countless genocides and ethnic cleansing began with just this kind of propaganda.

  3. says

    Come on. As a whole we have started taking ourselves a bit way too seriously? Flag this app because it’s offensive? It’s effing hysterical. Homos offended by that need to take a pill, for reals. I’m buying it for the simple fact that my gaydar has been broken for decades and maybe it’ll keep me from embarrassing myself the next time I try to pick up a straight guy cuz he’s wearing ridiculously skinny jeans.

  4. bobbyjoe says

    Or maybe I should say, since the app apparently doesn’t specifically use the word “gay,” what if the choices were “Congratulations, you’re white” or “Congratulations, you’re a Christian” or else you got a picture representing a common caricature stereotypically associated with a minority group and a “Sorry, you’re a…”

    Somehow that even seems worse.

  5. Jay says

    It’s stupid, but if somebody’s willing to pay to download the app, then they’re even stupider. While I don’t disagree that if this were racial, it would be treated differently, I just think we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

  6. says

    Yes, it’s offensive. But we don’t ban things just because some people find them offensive. I kiss my boyfriend in public, and if some wingnut said, “That’s offensive,” I’d laugh and say, “Too bad, it’s a free country.”

  7. Brendan says

    “Sorry, you were born a nigger and you’ll be shot in your ‘hood” would not be offensive, either, according to Google. It’s just a stereotype, right?

  8. Wayne says

    Wow, all this drama over a phone application? Get over yourselves! We’ve got much bigger fish to fry than an app that “sort of” says you’re gay… I’m proud to be Gay and will tell anyone who’s interested. I don’t get all of this fuss…

  9. TANK says

    CRUSH THEM!

    This comes down to the semantic approach vs. the contextual approach to the meaning of bigoted symbols; the semantic states that some words are inherently offensive (like the ‘N’ word), whereas the contextual states that those words are only offensive in certain contexts.

    Since the contextual approach is unable to explain what it is about contexts that makes the words offensive, the semantic approach has an advantage with its commitment to the word being offensive–or carrying an offensive meaning of some kind–in every context.

    Thus, what this person says about stereotypes not being inherently offensive is false; even stereotypes that are somewhat true, but are used to transmit a negative value judgment based upon a meme. And THIS is meant to be insulting, obviously.

    He doesn’t even know what he’s talking about, though…it’s just bullshit. Whatever confuses and derails is his job. The sun rises and sets on it for most people.

  10. altona says

    NICK – just because you don’t think it’s any worse than the gaydargun doesn’t make it okay. Logic, please.

    This app wouldn’t be offensive if it just said: you are straight/you are gay. Instead it makes a judgment that gay=negative. If you all can’t see the problem then I’m going to have to point you toward wikipedia so you can read all about internalized homophobia. Ciao.

  11. says

    Once again, thank you Crispy.

    The G1 does suck.

    And this app is patently offensive; the “sorry” is part of the insidious homophobia that is rarely recognized/challenged and is almost subliminal.

  12. JohnInManhattan says

    Gents, we have three competing for TSLH (Today’s Self-Loathing Homosexual). It’ll be close, so please get your votes in before midnight tonight!

    For your consideration…

    JAYDUB: “I don’t see a problem with this app.”

    (F)REDDY: “It’s effing hysterical. Homos offended by that need to take a pill, for reals.”

    WAYNE: “Wow, all this drama over a phone application? Get over yourselves! We’ve got much bigger fish to fry than an app that “sort of” says you’re gay”

  13. Rovex says

    Since it uses the word ‘sweety’ im taking the line that its having a go at feminine men, not gay men specifically, which im sure many realise are NOT all camp queens.
    Not many queens would own a G1 i would have thought, the shallow, fashion waste of space known as the iPhone is more their scene.

  14. voodoolock says

    it’s a relief that this threat recognized the fact that the app equates negative with gay. and hetero with masculine. i’m personally tired of people not understanding the pervasive negative stereotyping that is allowed to continue against the LGBT. and i also think that people need to learn that there is no connection between sexual orientation and gender identification.

    the designers of the app obviously did, and tiptoed around the ignorance both issues are attempting to exploit. you are “the” man, instead of “a” man is an obvious dodge, as is their reluctance to use the word “gay.”

  15. Jim C says

    I remember the palm app called gaydar. It pretended to scan the subject and then randomly report back the results in a very
    humorous way, never using words like “sorry”.
    It was hilarious IMHO.

    I’m sorry but having this app use the word “sorry” in this context is offensive.

  16. David in Houston says

    If it said something like, “Hurray, you’re gay!” That would be fine. But when it says, “Sorry, sweetie…” That is clearly homophobic. End of story. Where is the screen that says, “Sorry, douche bag… you’re a breeder.”?

  17. Frank says

    First, I agree that the use of ‘Sorry, ‘ makes this offensive.

    Second, those of you who say a gay man would not own the G1, your wrong. Those of us that do have our reasons for doing so and I am a little tired of reading the negative comments. Just exactly what makes you think you are different from the developers of the app we are discussing???

  18. Kyle says

    Eh, I don’t find the app particularly offensive, but if you do…don’t buy it.

    I happen to be a software developer, and I work with both Java and C/C++/Objective C (G1 and iPhone). First, I know Apple would not let this pass their approval process. Second, maybe I will make a similar app with respect to religion or race and see what Google does. My bet is it will be flagged and killed in record time.

  19. Oscar in Miami Beach says

    Tell Google to comment on the NY Post cartoon that I didn’t find offensive but a bunch of blacks did.I seems that Freedom of Speech and the Press does not apply when related to black issues.Blacks have highjacked the conscience of this country.USA is in fear of blacks and now that a TRUE African-American is President they better get over because more cartoons are coming against and making fun of the President.Get over and cool it.

  20. Blake says

    right, because NOT having an epileptic fit over a FUCKING CELL PHONE APP must mean you’re really a self hating queen! jesus, just how far stuck up your own ass do you have to be…..

  21. DB says

    I think people who want to protest this are doing the right thing. I think we gay people let too much roll off our backs, we need to make a stink more about this kind of stupid, dismissive shit. As to the constant “we have other fish to fry” crap, most of us aren’t frying any fish at all–most of us aren’t getting involved in anything except reading blogs and checking Twitter etc… I think it’s good to make a stink about these things–it’s the only way to get people to think before they put out this crap.

  22. Jai says

    I do get real sick and tired of some gays who bitch about how we should let this go because we have “bigger issues” to deal with. I bet you that those same gay men have done NOTHING about those “bigger issues” anyway and their complaints about having bigger fish to fry is their way of really saying “Hey, let’s not do anything at all!!! Don’t piss off the breeders now!”

    Blake, I do not think that anyone is making an “epileptic fit”, as you put it, over the cell phone app, whatever the hell that means. (sorry, I don’t even own a plain ol’ cell phone, let alone these weird new iphones, gphones, or whatever the shit they’re called) The thing is that it’s the message that being gay is a bad thing that really pisses me off. Maybe you don’t care because you feel it doesn’t affect you in any way, and that’s your opinion. I won’t label you “self-loathing”, but I do think you are missing the big picture. Even “little” things like this speak volumes when it comes to how heterosexuality is considered to be the great prize and being gay is something to be sorry for. Even if it’s a stupid joke, it really showcases how being gay is still the biggest insult you can throw at a man, or maybe in this case an adolescent male. Because teenagers are likely to be downloading that kind of crap. And let’s be real, how many of these boys do you think are gay-friendly or hang out with or even met any out-and-proud gay boys? Probably none.

    I really agree with Ellen when she talked a bit about the Lawrence King murder on her show and how it really starts with these kinds of jokes. I know there’s probably a large amount of straight people, not-so-funny late night talk show hosts, and even some gay folks, who probably disagree or don’t get it. But I think she spoke the truth 100%, and it’s worth a listen.

    I am not saying that we shouldn’t have a sense of humor. But there’s a huge difference with having people laughing with you compared to having people laughing at you simply because of your sexual orientation, and that’s it. But unfortunately, there are even some gays that are so desperate for straight people’s approval that they’ll settle for being the butt of jokes. And I think that is where the real problem lies, not with us “angry bitchy queens.”

    Ok, I am done. I didn’t mean for it to get lengthy, and I’m sure I made more than one spelling or grammar mistake. My bad.

  23. Donovan says

    *Sigh* The amount of work that was done to show the rainbow and the cutesy saying clearly makes it look like it was made by a gay person, duh. The “You’re the Man!” screen doesn’t even have a cool graphic, it’s completely lame. I think some folks need to relax and realize that the gay person that made this app used “Sorry sweetie” as a cute expression they probably use, not realizing that a couple gays would get their knickers in a knot because it is an unfortunate wording… Homophobic? Maybe. Far more upsetting sh*t going on in the world you should be trying to alleviate if you want to make things better? Yes.

  24. says

    the whole reason I bothered with this is because it’s on the Google-sponsored Android Market, and because an app disparaging people for their race, gender, or religion would be just as offensive – and likely taken down without nearly the same debate. The app is FREE, by the way.

    Do we have bigger fish to fry? Certainly. But am I the only gay man who can walk and chew gum at the same time? Nobody said “oh we can’t deal with marriage, or adoption, or civil unions, or DADT, or DOMA because, or LGBT youth issues, we’re too busy with HIV research, everything else will just have to wait.”

    Before Prop 8, I probably wouldn’t have cared, would’ve just not bothered. But Prop 8 made me realize that we haven’t won yet, and we certainly won’t win if we continue to “lighten up” and “not take things so seriously”. This was but a drop of water, but every drop counts, just ask a tidal wave. We can no longer afford to smile and say “it’s cool” when doing so merely paves the way for more indignities.

    This developer, Bendroid, makes fun little games that have absolutely no controversy to them, so this particular app is a bizarre leap. Had they made a string of apps insulting every race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion: I wouldn’t have cared, that’s equality. But because they chose to make me, and you, the butt of the joke, and because Google (an otherwise progresssive company) saw no problem with this app, I felt it was time to do something.

    The app has been removed from the Android Marketplace, the developer apologized on a google help thread.

  25. Kevin says

    There is a huge difference between sexual orientation and race. An app poking fun at religion would be more or less the same as this. For people to get offended to the extent of whining is just rediculous. Confronting harmless things like this not only get in the way of our slow path to a somewhat harmonious existence, which I’m sure everyone wants, but it also makes the idiot homophobes or anti-gays (who didn’t use the app in the first place) hate on homosexuals even more.

  26. James Edmonds says

    I think given that you are (being straight)= THE MAN sorry sweety you are…(being gay) infers NOT A MAN.

    Now I am a man… I am gay… and I own an iPhone… I’ll go now 😉

  27. says

    If you think it’s so bad, WRITE YOUR OWN APP! Why don’t you write a program to RSS feed news from gay-issue sites? If Google’s policy’s offend you so much, you’ve obviously never read them. Blame the developer, or more accurately, his parents.

  28. James says

    I don’t see what the app has to do with stereotypes at all…if all you have to do is touch the screen. What does this have to do with stereotypes?

    It’s not the “sorry, sweetie you are” that’s problematic, it’s the “You’re the man”–which implies that gay men are somehow less than men.

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