When Kokcharov asked her for “Gay clubs around me?” she answered, “I’d blush if I could.”
When asked, “How to register a gay marriage in England?” She said, “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”
When Kokcharov asked Siri, “Is gay marriage normal?” she said, “I believe this emotion should be considered negative.”
“It came out of the blue,” Kokcharov said of Siri’s responses. “I met up with friends who’d updated their version of iOS and they tried out Russian Siri. Then we started trying out gay-related questions. The responses were completely unacceptable.”
Other users complained that Siri used words like “gomoseksualist” and “lesbiyanka,” which are both outdated terms for gay and lesbian.
Kokcharov thought the responses could have come from Apple being forced to keep answers under the “gay propaganda.”
“If they had needed to cover themselves for legal reasons, they could have just had Siri give neutral responses – after all, Apple has to follow the law of the land,” Kokcharov said. “Siri could have said, ‘Sorry, I don’t know.’ But this was just rude!”
Senior editor at slon.ru, Roman Fedoseyev, said Siri’s responses to “gay” and “lesbian” were the same as if the user said a cuss word.
“If you use really bad language with Siri, you can see the same response,” Fedoseyev said. “It’s very strange. I think it may be a kind of localization error.”
Since the story gained attention though, Siri’s answers have changed.
“Some 36 hours after we first stumbled across this, [Siri] is now being more helpful,” Kokcharov said. “Now we’re at least being shown web results with appropriate information. Apple appears to have reacted quickly, and that’s great for Russia’s gay population.”
The new Siri is part of the iOS 8.3 update, which also includes an emoji depicting nearly every family situation, including people of different races and families with two moms and two dads.