Siri, "gay" is not an insult

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We hailed Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, as a hero as he came out and said that he is proud to be gay.
We rejoiced as, no more than a couple of weeks ago, 8,000 Apple employees joined the San Francisco Pride parade.
We were moved to tears as they described how things got better in their life, also thanks to their company’s actions against any kind of discrimination.

iPhone 6 is the bestselling smartphone in Italy. One person every five owns an Apple-branded phone.

How many iPhone 6 users are gay, lesbians, bisexual, or transgender? How many users have LGBT friends, children, colleagues, neighbors?

Were this people to ever ask the Italian version of Siri for information about “lesbians”, it would answer: “that is not a nice thing to say”. Were this people to ever confess Siri they are gay, they would get the same answer.

In Italy, we live in a country where LGBT people are not granted even the most basic and fundamental civil rights. A country in which homophobic bullying still reaches newspapers’ front pages.

Homophobia can only be tackled through education. But how can we tackle it if Siri doesn’t even recognize it is a word?

We ask Apple to teach Siri to answer correctly to such sensitive statements. “Lesbian” in not an insult; “gay” is not an insult.
We ask that Siri greets our coming out, our cries for help without implying that being LGBT is “not a nice thing”.
Nobody should be made feel bad about themselves. Everyone deserves the chance to be proud of who they are. Just like Tim Cook is.

Chiara Reali for Diversity Lab


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