Teen Takes on One of the Biggest Companies in the World for the Sake of Gay Rights

Becca Gorman from Sudbury, Massachusetts was writing a research paper on gay rights on her MacBook Pro when she came upon a discovery that stopped her in her tracks.

The 15-year-old tenth grader looked up the definition of the word "gay" in Apple's dictionary, and found the third definition particularly offensive: "Foolish; stupid: making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule."

Becca has two lesbian parents and several gay aunts and uncles, and knows that using the word "gay" as an insult is wrong. With the full support of her mothers and brother, she decided to write a letter to Apple to ask them to amend the 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 in the letter. "Even with your addition of the word informal, this definition normalizes the terrible derogatory twist that many people put on the word 'gay'."

She asked the company to take out that definition, or at least include the phrase "often offensive," as it says in the Oxford Dictionary.

"The use of 'gay' as a negative adjective is not okay and needs to stop," she wrote. "All other derogatory terms within the dictionary have it listed as an offensive term or unacceptable term to insult an ethnic or group of people."

In addition to changing the definition, she also requested that the company apologize to the gay community for this oversight. She sent the letter to Apple, as well as her local newspapers.

"I did not think [Apple] would even respond, so that's why I immediately tried to get it some publicity so we'd get them to actually see it," Becca tells us. But Apple did respond, calling Becca's household just one hour after receiving her letter.

A representative for the company said they were shocked by the definition, and would look into correcting the problem, however, a week after sending her letter, the offensive definition remains in their dictionary.

"It seems like if they were really serious about it and if it was actually passed along as a serious issue, I think it would have already been done," she says. "They have really talented technology people over there, and I'm sure they could probably fix that in less time than a few days."

All of her teachers and classmates are proud of Becca and support her cause. "All the kids at school have been really good about it, they've been very open to it," says Becca's friend Olivia. "It's all positive."

"My moms, both of them, were very touched at first," Becca says of her parents' reactions to all the publicity she's gotten so far. "They're just being very supportive and helping me get my message across."

"My parents have always taught me to fight for what I believe in," she adds. "I hope to inspire other teenagers to be comfortable who they are, if they're gay or if they have [gay] relatives… you should be able to be proud of yourself."

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