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After a campaign by BiNet USA and bisexuals worldwide, Google has removed “bisexual” from its list of banned words.

Los Angeles CA, September 4th 2012 - BiNet USA is pleased to confirm that Google Inc. has unblocked the term bisexual from its search algorithm. Now that “bisexual” is allowed, terms such as bisexual quotes, bisexual rights, and bisexual parenting are automatically suggested to Google users.

“It’s not every day one of the biggest companies in the world changes its mind, but we are thankful that Google now sees bisexual people just like everyone else,” said BiNet USA President Faith Cheltenham. “It will take time for bisexual search terms to be ranked as they were before the ban, but now bisexual people and their allies have a fighting chance to be seen, heard, and understood.”

Since late 2009, Google has had “bisexual” on a list of banned words; such words were de-prioritized by the Google search algorithm, leading to a drop in search rankings for all bisexual organizations and community resources. Since its search engine would not auto-suggest or auto-complete any term with the word bisexual, Google made it harder for any user to find bisexual content, whether that be on coming out as bisexual or finding local support groups across the United States and elsewhere.

BiNet USA spearheaded a campaign to get Google to unblock the word and stop harming a deeply marginalized community even further.
Click HERE for full Press Release

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Source: BiNet USA, BiMagazine, BiMedia


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
10th Sep, 2012 14:05 (UTC)
That is wonderful! Other than biphobia, I don't see why the word was banned in the first place.
10th Sep, 2012 21:19 (UTC)
Yes it is isn't it. Realizing that a lot of this is history is from rumor, conjecture and back-channel chats, but here is what appears to have happened.

In 2009-ish Google slightly fiddled with some it's search algorithms to help keep pornish-type stuff from overwhelming every search on the internet. As part of that effort a black-list of so-called "dirty words" was created. When creating the list Google cast a very (very, very) wide net, I'd guess it's because they figured "better safe that sorry" and that it was easier to remove the stuff that was swept in by accident.

Quite a few of the words that were rounded up and black-listed pertained to the LGBTQ+ community, and while sure there was porn associated with them (cause lets face it there can and is porn associated with almost anything theses days), that is pretty much secondary to their regular important function of  allowing LGBTQ+ rights and community to flourish and grow.

By 2010 a petition to unblock the words "lesbian and bisexual" was up and gathering signatures, articles were written and even the big guns of popular culture got involved. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Google's Help Desk was saying "the block" was "a bug" and would be fixed. After a while all the fuss (and the intervention of mainstream LGBTQ+ groups such as GLAAD, et. al.) had an effect and almost all of the LGBTQ+ words were removed from the list . . . except for one word that it seemed none of the various concerned citizens and activist types thought worth removing . . . can you guess which one that would be?

In June of 2011 in an otherwise Google-positive piece Bi Media pointed out the problem saying, "when you type in words like ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ the search engine’s predictive search kicks in and offers suggestions of what you might be looking for as you type, when you type ‘bisexual’ that doesn’t happen. It seems google thinks the b-word is a bad word." Words "lesbian" had been unblocked but "bisexual" still remained.

And there the matter sat until it was taken up by BiNet USA president Faith Cheltenham who (in addition to being a brand-new mom, a sometimes stand-up comedian and the president of  the USA's venerable nationwide bisexual equivalent of say an HRC) is also a computer programmer, and as a technical person even more in some ways than as a LGBTQ Activist it worried and irked her. And she kept at it, carefully documenting her findings as seen in her excellent July 18th 2012  HuffPo piece, "Google's Bisexual Problem".

Her piece gave the problem a fresh wind, notice was again taken, more articles were written, a new petition was started and Faith and others continued to query Google pointing out the folly of promoting LG_TQ+ positive advances while simultaneously trampling on the "B", the largest segment of the Queer community. And so finally her, her colleague's and her allies' hard work paid off. Bisexuals have been returned to a normal place in the great Google firmament.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )