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'Is my son gay?' app stirs up anger

Matthew Warren · 26 Sep 2011, 11:46

Published: 26 Sep 2011 11:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Sep 2011 11:46 GMT+02:00

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A new phone app that promises to reveal to parents whether their son might be gay by asking a series of twenty questions has been criticized as homophobic and caricatured.

The app, called "Mon fils est-il gay?" (Is my son gay?), is on the Google-owned Android system. It asks questions including "does he like football?", "does he like to dress well?", "is he a fan of music divas?" and "does he spend a long time in the bathroom?"

For €1.99 ($2.60), parents are given one of two responses to, what the app calls, "the question you have been asking for perhaps too long".

"You have nothing to worry about, your son is not gay" is the first response. "You have a very good chance of being a grandmother with all the joys that brings."

The second response is less joyful. "Your son is gay. Accept it and know it's not his choice" it says.

"This is an idiotic and odious tool, with caricatured questions," said Louis-Georges Tin of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) association, reported Le Figaro. "If the child is gay, it's a catastrophe, if not, relief." 

SOS Homophobie, the French group that campaigns for gay rights, said it was "amazing to see such a list of clichés in 2011, as if there was just one way to be gay."

The organisation's president, Bartholomé Girard, told newspaper Le Parisien he was "aghast." He was particularly incensed that the test implied that to be homosexual was a "defect."

"The ideal response would be that it doesn't matter if your son is gay or straight," he said, "the only thing that counts is that he is happy."

Google France said that the app was "in the process of being reviewed by our teams."

"Applications are not filtered before being published on Android Market," a spokesperson told AFP. 

Newspaper Le Parisien reported that the app's makers said it was designed to be "humorous."

"It's based on the principle that certain behaviours, social and family contexts can sometimes determine or reveal a hidden homosexuality," they said. They added that as well as being fun, the app was designed to "play down the situation and help mothers to accept the homosexuality of their sons." 

The controversial app comes just ten days after Apple withdrew the "Jew or Not Jew" app, which provided information about whether some 3,500 people from various walks of life were Jewish or not.


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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