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App maker petitions Apple to remove 'bisexual' from flagged list

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Update: Quist owner Sarah Prager received a phone call from an Apple representative Tuesday telling her that the use of "bisexual" is no longer flagged in the company's App Store.

"I'm very pleased Apple responded positively," Prager said in a statement. "It is important that we all stand up for every letter in LGBTQ and not treat the bisexual community as a spam word."

Quist first announced the news in a tweet from its official account Tuesday morning.


The owner of a Maryland-based mobile app that gives users a daily dose of LGBT-related history got a message from Apple on Monday morning that she didn't like -- and now she's petitioning the company to change its ways.

According to Sarah Prager, the 27-year-old founder of Quist, she logged into her iTunes Connect account to update the app's description in the iTunes App Store, and was shocked by the Apple message she received when she typed in "bisexual."

"The following is not recommended for use in this field: bisexual. Your app may be rejected if you use this term."

Prager, based in Berwyn Heights, said she was shocked because she knows Apple has "an LGBT-friendly track record" and didn't expect "bisexual" to raise any flags.

She started a Change.org petition to get others to voice their concerns with the policy, as well.

"While gay and lesbian rights move forward, the bisexual community is still struggling for visibility and acceptance," she said in a statement. "Treating the word 'bisexual' as spam instead of an identity contributes to the stigma."

Other companies have already faced criticism for blocking or flagging certain general terms associated with the LGBT community -- at times without blocking derogatory terms associated with it.

Tumblr banned its Apple iOS users from searching the tags "gay," "lesbian" and "bisexual," even though they could still search for words like "faggot."

The issue seems to come up when companies attempt to block sexualized content restricted to adults from being readily accessible through apps. But all content pegged "bisexual" would not be sexualized -- such as that on Quist. Some who had already signed Prager's petition, from around the world, on Monday afternoon pointed that out.

"Bisexual is not a dirty word or an identity to be ashamed of," wrote one poster named Yemisi Ilesanmi, from London. "I am proudly bisexual as are millions of people. Stop the shaming!"

"'Bisexual' is not a dirty word!" wrote John Becker, of Washington. "Fix this now."

Apple has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as a "Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality" in recent years, scoring a perfect 100 under the HRC's criteria for friendly workplaces for LGBT employees.

A few months ago, Apple removed the free app called "Setting Captives Free" -- which promised to help users gain "freedom from the bondage of homosexuality" -- after the LGBT group All Out started its own petition.

Two years ago it took down an app from the "ex-gay" group Exodus International after LGBT advocates complained.

So now -- what about flagging the word "bisexual"?

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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