A Massachusetts teenager said she was so shocked to see an offensive and outdated definition for the word “gay” in Apple’s online dictionary that she asked the company to change it.
And in another shock, the 15-year-old said a company official quickly agreed to do so.
Becca Gorman, of Sudbury, said the pejorative definition of the word – meaning “foolish (or) stupid” – was listed with two others in the dictionary application of her MacBook Pro laptop, along with the example, “making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule.”
The Lincoln-Sudbury High School sophomore, whose parents are lesbians, said she’s accustomed to hearing “gay” used in that sense in everyday conversation, but she said it was hurtful that a company like Apple would legitimize it.
Gorman said she checked other dictionaries but couldn’t find any others that used that particular definition without noting it was derogatory.
“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.’”
About an hour later, an Apple representative called her home and said the company would look into the problem.
The representative said it’s difficult to source their dictionary definitions, but the company was shocked by the way the offensive usage was presented.
The app in the company’s latest mobile operating system, iOS7, includes the description “often offensive.”
But as of Wednesday morning, the MacBook definition remained unchanged.
“I feel like we’re going to have to make a bigger deal about it before they actually act on it,” she said.
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