A teen girl from Sudbury, Massachusetts launched a campaign to get Apple to remove a derogatory definition of the word “gay” from its dictionary, reported the Metro West Daily News.
15 year-old Becca Gorman said she found the pejorative definition for the word while doing a research project for school last week.
According to a screen capture she took of the dictionary application on her MacBook Pro laptop, the third, informal definition of gay was listed as “foolish; stupid,” with the example: “making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule.”
“At first, I was kind of in disbelief,” said Gorman, adding she couldn’t find any other dictionaries that used that particular definition except to denounce it as derogatory.
Gorman, whose parents are lesbians, said she’s used to hearing the term “that’s so gay” used in conversations around her, but was offended that a “humongous company” like Apple would legitimize it in its own application.
“I felt like they had to take care of it,” she said.
Gorman sent a letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who is out as a gay man and previously spoke in favour of LGBT rights, asking the company to remove the pejorative definition.
“I assume that you are a pro-gay company, and would never intend for any one of your products to be as offensive as this definition was,” she wrote.
“Even with your addition of the word informal, this definition normalizes the terrible derogatory twist that many people put on the word ‘gay.'”
A mere hour later, to her surprise, an Apple company representative called her home telephone-number.
“They told me it’s so hard to track the dictionaries they’re getting sources from, and that they were also shocked themselves,” Gorman said.
Although the representative indicated Apple would look into the problem, the dictionary definition has yet to be changed, she said.
“I feel like we’re going to have to make a bigger deal about it before they actually act on it,” said Gorman.