Wednesday, February 25, 2009

XBOX Live Bans Words 'Gay' and 'Lesbian'

There have been a number of reports that Microsoft is banning people from using their XBOX Live video game console for simply having the word gay or lesbian in their username and/or profile. These players have been harassed and chased to different games by other users. One situation involved a guy last May whose tag theGAYERgamer was banned. Now, a lesbian user has been banned for identifying her sexuality.

These users have had their account suspended and xbox live did nothing to solve the issue, but instead said others found it offensive.

Please tell Microsoft that while it is getting 100% ratings on the corporate equality index by the Human Rights Campaign, in this scenario they are siding with the homophobes and penalizing the victim.

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Anonymous said...

I've actually heard about this where Microsoft banned someone for having "gay" in their username. I think this is the same person. Which is just silly, because there's nothing wrong with the word gay. I've heard that if you type "gay" into a message in the forums, they'll actually censor it out with asterisks.

T. R Xands said...

Yeah, it seems that Xbox live has a lot of problems with folks using homophobic (and racist and everything else I hear) slurs...I can see where they're coming from but that's not going to help I don't think :/

Anonymous said...

Are there any Xbox users with sexual words or phrases in their usernames? If so that would seem as though the GLBT community is being targeted. I would think some folks would find words like 'slut' or 'ho' or 'whore' offensive in a username

Maree said...

This issue of "don't be out in-game or we will have to do something about all the homophobia" came up for Blizzard a few years ago with World of Warcraft. It was "resolved," but the unresolved issues with all interactive technologies remain, and they are very nicely outlined in this boingboing article thusly:

"Online games are incredibly, deeply moving social software that have hit on a perfect formula for getting players to devote themselves to play: make play into a set of social grooming negotiations. Big chunks of our brains are devoted to figuring out how to socialize with one another -- it's how our primate ancestors enabled the cooperation that turned them into evolutionary winners.

But real life has one gigantic advantage over gamelife. In real life, you can be a citizen with rights. In gamelife, you're a customer with a license agreement. In real life, if a cop or a judge just makes up a nonsensical or capricious interpretation of the law, you can demand an appeal. In gamelife, you can cancel your contract, or suck it up.

Will a game ever give players citizenship instead of just customership? Will players always be willing to treat games as their online homes if they have to rely on customer service ethos instead of the Constitution to assure them of a fair shake?"

Maree said...

In the previous post, the "resolved" was supposed to link to this BBC article.

Anonymous said...

I just heard from the HRC on this, and it turns out that the rule excluding mention of one's sexuality was originally created to help protect gays and lesbians. The XBOX Live spokesperson said that XBOX is currently working on revamping the policy. You can read more about it here:

Anonymous said...

yourfaceisanadvert did an interesting article on the same topic last year

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Queers United said...

This is the response I received from XBOX.

"The Xbox Live Code of Conduct states that:

* Don't create a gamertag or motto that other users may be offended by, this includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate any of the following: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.
* Don't create a gamertag or motto that references controversial religious topics, notorious people, organizations, or sensitive current or historical events that may also be considered inappropriate."

There is a difference between using an idenity positively and negatively. I doubt someone who had their religion in their username would be banned, yet why can't someone who uses gay in a positive or neutral way be ok.

Anonymous said...


DueceWild said...

There should be nothing inappropriate about someone commenting on the type of people they like. It's not even necessarily their sexual nature, it's just who they are. An Xbox Live Subscription is paid for and should have a little more freedom anyways.

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