A mobile app designed to educate the up-and-coming legendary children on LGBTQ history has run afoul of Apple’s terms of service for including the word “bisexual” in its product description.
The app, Quist, provides subscribers with daily facts about important LGBTQ events and people, seeking to encourage a sense of shared history within a traditionally marginalized population. What seemed like a perfectly innocuous idea has stirred up a bit of controversy with the iTunes team warning the app about being flagged as inappropriate.
The warning, which read “The following is not recommended for use in this field: bisexual. Your app may be rejected if you use this term,” is probably an attempt to curtail actually inappropriate porn-related apps from appearing in the squeaky clean Apple product line.
“I was shocked because I know Apple has an LGBT-friendly track record,” says Sarah Prager, the owner of Quist. “While gay and lesbian rights move forward, the bisexual community is still struggling for visibility and acceptance. Treating the word ‘bisexual’ as spam instead of an identity contributes to the stigma.”
Prager is now petitioning to have the policy on the word “bisexual” changed. Just starting to gain momentum, the petition is an important step in addressing the systematic silencing of people from all colors of the LGBT rainbow.
A similar controversy arose on Tumblr, which blocked all content that was tagged as “#gay” from their smartphone app. This was done as an attempt to keep the app porn-free in accordance with Apple’s policy on “adult” content, but ultimately resulted in gaining the ire of a number of LGBTQ users and allies.
According to Apple’s obfuscatory iTunes Store terms of service agreement, the tech giant reserves the right to refuse any content that it “deems abusive, defamatory, obscene, in violation of copyright or trademark laws, or otherwise offensive, illegal, inappropriate or unacceptable.” Apparently that extends to educational apps about queer history.
Maybe once Apple gets over their sexual hang-ups about bisexuality, they’ll start to rethink their porn policy. Because we all know that the apex of human civilization will be reached when we’re all able to watch people having sex on our preferred mobile devices.