Instant Guide

The 'ridiculous' app that asks: Is my son gay?

A French smartphone app exploits stereotypes to supposedly enlighten parents about their sons' sexuality

An Android app available in France purportedly holds the answer for parents wondering whether their sons are gay. The $2.69 app is called, perhaps unsurprisingly, "Is My Son Gay?" Also unsurprising: The app is not being welcomed with universal praise. Here, a guide to the controversy:  

How does the app work?
It's just a collection of 20 yes-or-no questions for a parent to answer about a son. The questions range from "Does he like to dress well?" to "Does he like diva singers?" to "Does he get along with his father?" Once the test is completed, the app sizes up all of the answers. It announces either: "No need to look the other way! He is gay! ACCEPT IT;" or, "You have nothing to worry about, your son is not gay. So you have a very good chance of being a grandmother with all the joys that brings."

This is not going over well, is it?
Nope. The questions are loaded with "tired and offensive stereotypes," says Jonathan Higbee at Instinct. This may wind up being revealed as a poorly-conceived joke, but it's still "ridiculous" and "inappropriate," says Nicole Fabian-Weber at The Stir. "If you really want to know if your son is gay, I advise you to save yourself some Euros and simply talk to him." But if you must use the app, Fabian-Weber says, at least be aware that — "spoiler alert! — not all gays love Lady Gaga."

Are there similar apps in the U.S.?
There was a "gay cure" iPhone app created by Exodus International, but Apple discontinued it in March, saying it violated the company's anti-hate speech policy. Apple's App Store still sells an app called "Jew or Not a Jew?" though — it lets users guess which politicians or celebrities are Jewish. Interestingly, the French can't buy that title, as activists there complained that it violated bans on revealing someone's religion without their consent.

Sources: Babble, The Frisky, InstinctiTunes, The Stir

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