Apple Celebrates Pride Month by Switching Screen Reader Voice to RuPaul

Apple surprised visually impaired iOS and Mac users with a new feature today: the voice of VH1’s most celebrated star, RuPaul. The company is celebrating Pride Month by automatically switching all screen reading software to the golden voice of the famous drag icon, prompting a wide array of reactions from visually impaired users across the country.

One user noted that the new voice was “fun for a few minutes” but “annoying and rather inefficient” after just two days.

Another user, who spends nearly 12 hours a day on his iMac as a web developer, tweeted, “Did you ever want to hear RuPaul read 400 lines of HTML? Me neither, thanks @Apple.”

In addition to including the superstar’s voice, the update now switches common phrases to RuPaul’s vernacular, including changing all instances of “Yes” to “Yass.”

One visually impaired user reached out to us via email, writing, “I couldn’t believe when I clicked to close my browser window and heard RuPaul tell Google Chrome to ’sashay away.’”

On Instagram, a user posted an illustration of a cartoon ear bleeding rainbow blood with the caption, “the RuPaul screen reader voice got me like.”

When asked why the feature was not made optional, Apple gave the following statement:

We at Apple believe in equality regardless of sexual orientation, and are proud of our LGBT employees and users. Since our standard screen reader voice is quite heterosexual, we felt it was only equal to make this change for the month of June. Also, in addition to RuPaul, users can select a voice from a variety of other LGBT Pride screen reader voices, including Andy Cohen, The Nanny, or the candle from “Beauty and the Beast.”

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