Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Should Exodus Internationals Hatefull Speech Be Censored?

     As most are probably aware, Apple has come under fire from LGBT groups like Truth Wins Out over its acceptance of Exodus Internationals "gay cure" app. Why, these groups ask, is Apple encouraging the mental and social trauma that comes from the ex-gay myth and "therapy" associated with it? Though I agree with Truth Wins Out that reparative therapy is devastating to the psychological and emotional well being of LGBT people - I myself am a testament to that - I fundamentally reject their advocacy of complete censorship of individual personal choices.

    Truth Wins Out fails to realize that individuals are able to download this application of their own free will. It is a personal choice to participate in the activity. Yes I agree that there are some cases where their is no choice in the matter, for I myself was in this position, but in the vast majority of cases individuals are the ones who choose to participate and download the app.

    Why should a corporation dictate to someone what they should and should not do with their life? So what that the app. would cause those who choose to participate in it to become self-hating. The individuals themselves chose it and the company should respect that personal choice. I think that it is very disturbing when we say that it is legitimate for a company  to tell people about the validity of their own choices. In doing so, we are moving away from the concept of individual freedom and personal choices that the LGBT movement relies so heavily upon, and instead towards one where others dictate to us what is acceptable and not acceptable.

    Some may ask how this is consistent with my analysis of the Manhattan Declaration (Part 1 and Part 2) and the validity of Apples decision to not allow that app. There is two reasons why the two apps are different. First, as I outlined in my discussion on the Manhattan Declaration, there are specific references that could be considered hate speech, thus the validity of the app itself being on Apple's network should be under higher scrutiny. But as outlined above, this justification is not enough for the app. to not be allowed. The real reason why the Manhattan Declaration app removal was valid is because it is an app. whose basic design is to limit others individual choices and rights.  The Exodus International app. on the other hand, is not doing this. Instead its focus is on the individual and the internal sexual struggle that everyone has to deal with before coming out. If someone wants to suppress that because of religious reasons, more power too them, for they should have that choice.

     I am in no way agreeing with Exodus' app; I in fact find it reprehensible. I have experienced the self-hatred that exists in attempting to change your sexuality. But the legitimacy of reparative therapy is not where this discussion should lie. Instead, the question I posit asks whether we should advocate that a company deny an individual the right to live the way they want. Though my position is clear, I would be interested in hearing y'all's thoughts on this issue.

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