UPDATE: Microsoft Disallows Public Lesbians on Xbox Live

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UPDATE: Microsoft Disallows Public Lesbians on Xbox Live

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One female Xbox Live user who mentioned her sexual orientation in her profile was suspended from the service for being "offensive."

Teresa, an avid Xbox Live user and open lesbian gamer, spent a fair amount of her time online having to drop out of matches and jump rooms to avoid being "harassed by several players."

"They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap," she stated.

Teresa was shocked to discover one day after logging into Xbox Live to find her account suspended with no reason given other than her being "offensive", most likely based upon user reviews.

After reading a similar story about a player's Gamertag being banned for using the word "gay" (not realizing his name really is Richard Gaywood), Teresa was compelled to write a letter to advocacy blog The Consumerist.

"Today I received a message from another gamer calling me a fag. I am a lesbian, so they aren't too smart if they cant get their anti-gay slurs right," she wrote. "Microsoft does nothing to stop this or prevent it, but instead sides with the homophobes. No one will help me get the word out about Microsoft's anti-gay policy. Not even the HRC who says Microsoft has a positive image with them. Not to me it doesn't!"

Microsoft isn't alone in its homosexual censorship online; Sony's Home service was lambasted last year for blocking "gay", "lesbian" and "bisexual" from chat rooms. Does the general gaming population truly feel these terms are offensive to individuals, or are they unnecessary distractions people shouldn't be sharing online?

UPDATE: Xbox Live policy director Stephen Toulouse responded to the Consumerist story via Twitter (via VG247), "Expression of any sexual orientation (straight or gay or otherswise (sic)) is not allowed in gamertags. However we've heard from the user base they want that capability, so I am examining how we can provide it in a way that wont get misused. I can't say any more at the moment, except to say I'm working right now in finding a way to safely express relationship preference."

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Fucked up.

I am so canceling LIVE Gold.

This is mildly upsetting...but I have to ask...why can't we just keep our sexual orientation to ourselves in online games?

What the hell...

One thing is, the term "gay" is probably blocked for being an inappropriate slur against anyone, not necessarily just gay people. That's one of the main problems with society today. If we keep using those words as insults to other people, it's going to be hard to make progress.

This isn't helping the stereotype that everyone on Xbox Live are homophobic assholes. Apparently the service is run by homophobic assholes as well?

Wouldukindly:
This is mildly upsetting...but I have to ask...why can't we just keep our sexual orientation to ourselves in online games?

It's in her profile though, not her gamertag. She's not even broadcasting it to people, it's just under the whole "Things about me" section.

Im still playing, but we should petition for the return of her right to play

When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

MaxFan:
When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

2 Way street bub.

Well this is interesting, wonder if anything will happen.

What. The. Fuck? I'm... I'm too upset to post anything of worth. Rest assured I will follow this to the ends of it. In what way is that offensive? Especially when compared to the language that is carried by oh-so-many XBL-users? *abyssal sigh*
Microsoft has lost even more respect in my eyes now.

She should file a lawsuit, but a team of lawyers would probably fall upon her like a plague of locusts.

MaxFan:
When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

She shouldn't have to omit something that affects her life like that if she doesn't want to. It's her "About me" section.
It's a lot like if you got in trouble for saying that you're black. It's fucked up.

""They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap," she stated."
I wonder how their kids would take to finding out that their parents are bigots and cunts?

This is one of many reasoning I'm not paying for Live anymore. You pay 40 a year and you can't even express yourself in ways that you'd like to.
Banning her for being a lesbian? It's just downright shameful.

MaxFan:
When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

That's not even the point! It may not be something you 'need to know', but it certainly isn't something someone should be penalized for! IT was just in her 'bio' part of her profile! She wasn't running around yelling 'Any other dikes in this room?'. That's not shoving it in people's faces.

And the fact that people were following her around? Give me those gamer tags and I'll file some complaints about 'offensive conduct'. Absolutely disgusting way to treat someone. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. Microsoft better do the right thing and fix this somehow.

MaxTheReaper:

MaxFan:
When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

She shouldn't have to omit something that affects her life like that if she doesn't want to. It's her "About me" section.
It's a lot like if you got in trouble for saying that you're black. It's fucked up.

""They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap," she stated."
I wonder how their kids would take to finding out that their parents are bigots and cunts?

Upon reflection, you're right. If I'd happened to mention something about myself in a "personal" space and somebody got offended I'd be pretty upset.

Also, I think I didn't make my point rightly in the first place. I was trying to say something like, "people should mind their own business or if they don't want to mind their own business, then not freak out about what they find out."

Well on one hand, simply mentioning that she is a lesbian is not really that offensive. Everyone knows they exist. I doubt any kids are going to go gay just because they met someone on the internet who claimed to be.

BUT...

On the other hand, there really is no reason to display your sexual preferences in that time and place. Its not exactly the type of environment where you would announce a foot fetish or love of BDSM, so why does anyone need to announce being gay or straight? It's irrelevant and unnecessary.

I see two wrongs here. That girl should have kept her bedroom in her bedroom like everyone else and Microsoft should have just had her simply change her profile.

Honestly, if you keep your sexual orientation to yourself, you wouldn't have this problems, however, everyone knows that most XBL users are ASS HOLES, so by putting that in her profile, she was asking for trouble. But this has intrigued me, I am going to put "supporter of gay rights" as my saying, and see what people say.

kawligia:
Well on one hand, simply mentioning that she is a lesbian is not really that offensive. Everyone knows they exist. I doubt any kids are going to go gay just because they met someone on the internet who claimed to be.

BUT...

On the other hand, there really is no reason to display your sexual preferences in that time and place. Its not exactly the type of environment where you would announce a foot fetish or love of BDSM, so why does anyone need to announce being gay or straight? It's irrelevant and unnecessary.

I see two wrongs here. That girl should have kept her bedroom in her bedroom like everyone else and Microsoft should have just had her simply change her profile.

As much as this seems wrong, that's the only thing that sort of bothers me, I mean, I could go into detail about my lizard fetish on my account, but it may upset a few people :P

I understand it's an 'About Me' column, but you have to be a little realistic when you're on a network like Xbox Live. I'm not saying it's right they banned her, I'm just saying one has to wonder 'why'.

Microsoft: Because bigots pay more than you do.

Wouldukindly:

kawligia:
Well on one hand, simply mentioning that she is a lesbian is not really that offensive. Everyone knows they exist. I doubt any kids are going to go gay just because they met someone on the internet who claimed to be.

BUT...

On the other hand, there really is no reason to display your sexual preferences in that time and place. Its not exactly the type of environment where you would announce a foot fetish or love of BDSM, so why does anyone need to announce being gay or straight? It's irrelevant and unnecessary.

I see two wrongs here. That girl should have kept her bedroom in her bedroom like everyone else and Microsoft should have just had her simply change her profile.

As much as this seems wrong, that's the only thing that sort of bothers me, I mean, I could go into detail about my lizard fetish on my account, but it may upset a few people :P

I understand it's an 'About Me' column, but you have to be a little realistic when you're on a network like Xbox Live. I'm not saying it's right they banned her, I'm just saying one has to wonder 'why'.

Because then you're just running from the problem. Sexual Orientation should not be the segregating factor here, it should just be another detail.

MaxFan:

MaxTheReaper:

MaxFan:
When playing a game, this is simply not something I need to know. And why would you put that out there in a community you (should) know is filled with people who are going to give you trouble for it? I know not everyone on the service is like that, but there are enough of them.

She shouldn't have to omit something that affects her life like that if she doesn't want to. It's her "About me" section.
It's a lot like if you got in trouble for saying that you're black. It's fucked up.

""They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap," she stated."
I wonder how their kids would take to finding out that their parents are bigots and cunts?

Upon reflection, you're right. If I'd happened to mention something about myself in a "personal" space and somebody got offended I'd be pretty upset.

Also, I think I didn't make my point rightly in the first place. I was trying to say something like, "people should mind their own business or if they don't want to mind their own business, then not freak out about what they find out."

It's fine, I wasn't yelling at you, or anything. Just using you to make my point.
You are my tool.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Microsoft: Because bigots pay more than you do.

Or, rather: Microsoft: Because the majority is always right.

Jeronus:
She should file a lawsuit, but a team of lawyers would probably fall upon her like a plague of locusts.

Case is too ugly to go to war over. They'd cut her a check and hush it all up. Still repulsive though.

Wtf Microsoft? It's okay for people to verbally abuse each other on a semi-continuous basis but the moment someone is proud of their sexuality enough to mention on their profile you wield the banhammer? Good message their fucktards.

As for people not wanting their kids to see "that crap" then they should probably turn off the internet connection.

Sex = something the vast majority of people will enjoy during their lifetimes, and of which a significant % enjoy in a slightly different way to the majority.
Gun violence = something an extreme minority ever have to deal with.

So a 12 year old shooting someone with an M16 and then gloating is okay but someone open about their sexuality isn't? Bwah?

How about each live membership must be registered to someone with proof of age. Any person found playing a game with a higher age classification gets banned?

I'm somewhat amused on how quick people are to take a crack at Microsoft. If you've ever called their technical support you'd realize that they pretty much have drones working from them that will never step outside the boundary of their scripts, if you have any problem they'll just read out the solutions they were given. And like the article says she was most likely banned because of user feedback. I think its probably common for Microsoft to have a certain number which flags the account and then some low paid guy pressed a few buttons and the account gets banned without any review. Also I'm a bit curious as to how she riled up a handful of players onto her in the first place, most people rarely look at other people's profiles in depth, my guess is that she's like a moderate chunk of the gay community that feels the need to tell everyone their sexual orientation whether asked or not. I'm not saying a person isn't privileged to their choice of sexual partners but in certain contexts it really shouldn't come into play, like in the case of Sony's chatrooms...was there really a need to have those kinds of chatrooms on that service considering that there are more suited avenues on the internet for that kind of chatroom?

Wouldukindly:

kawligia:
Well on one hand, simply mentioning that she is a lesbian is not really that offensive. Everyone knows they exist. I doubt any kids are going to go gay just because they met someone on the internet who claimed to be.

BUT...

On the other hand, there really is no reason to display your sexual preferences in that time and place. Its not exactly the type of environment where you would announce a foot fetish or love of BDSM, so why does anyone need to announce being gay or straight? It's irrelevant and unnecessary.

I see two wrongs here. That girl should have kept her bedroom in her bedroom like everyone else and Microsoft should have just had her simply change her profile.

As much as this seems wrong, that's the only thing that sort of bothers me, I mean, I could go into detail about my lizard fetish on my account, but it may upset a few people :P

I understand it's an 'About Me' column, but you have to be a little realistic when you're on a network like Xbox Live. I'm not saying it's right they banned her, I'm just saying one has to wonder 'why'.

Because it's a part of her life! I have that I'm a Christian on my profile, because it's a big part of my life! Both her, I, and anyone else shouldn't have to apologize or change our profiles because someone else thought something as simple as faith or sexual orientation is 'offensive'. It isn't promoting hate, it isn't saying 'convert to lesbianism!', it's just talking about her and who she is.

This isn't her fault in any way or form, and the people who did this to her (If I dare call them 'people') should be nothing short of ashamed for it, and they should be the ones who are banned.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Microsoft: Because bigots pay more than you do.

Root, I wuv you.

I'm curious why she felt the need to identify herself as a lesbian in a profile box about herself in the first place. She's not by any means doing anything wrong, but, from a personal perspective, my sexual orientation is way low on the list of my priorities to list about my personality and interests.

She should absolutely have her suspension rescinded, and this really illustrates the need for a more responsive/interactive Live complaint system. I have filed numerous complaints about users for various infringements to the terms of service(cheating, abusive language, etc.) and have no way to know if any sort of disciplinary action was taken. There's no way of knowing what level of accountability Live exercises, or how they dictate policy. A more transparent and responsive complaint system should help eliminate spam complaints and handle problems on an individual basis to avoid further situations like this one.

Weak. Especially as I was playing Gears the other day against someone called b4ll.l1kkerz.

There are tons of people out there with so-called 'offensive' screen names. Microsoft really can't claim moral high ground under any circumstances.

Aries_Split:
Because then you're just running from the problem. Sexual Orientation should not be the segregating factor here, it should just be another detail.

That's true, and I can't disagree with that, but the fact is that would only be possible in a perfect world. Sometimes you have to be a little realistic about racism and segregation, i.e. I don't go to certain Middle Eastern-based restaurants because they will refuse to serve me until everyone from the Middle East is served first. I guess I'm saying it's much easier to just avoid the problem then provoke it. I'm not saying it's right, it's fairly upsetting in fact, but sometimes you just have to deal with it.

This (in my opinion) is another prime example of over censorship. Companys are far to worried about getting a lawsuit filed against them , but can you really blame them in todays world?

This should be undone right away as it is utter crap.

Well. I don't believe this warrants any kind of banning or suspension of her account.

Wouldukindly:

Aries_Split:
Because then you're just running from the problem. Sexual Orientation should not be the segregating factor here, it should just be another detail.

That's true, and I can't disagree with that, but the fact is that would only be possible in a perfect world. Sometimes you have to be a little realistic about racism and segregation, i.e. I don't go to certain Middle Eastern-based restaurants because they will refuse to serve me until everyone from the Middle East is served first. I guess I'm saying it's much easier to just avoid the problem then provoke it. I'm not saying it's right, it's fairly upsetting in fact, but sometimes you just have to deal with it.

Who cares about easier? You find a bear like that, you freaking shout and poke it so that the entire world knows about that bear. Apathy is what allows crap like this to thrive.

Aries_Split:
...

Fucked up.

I am so canceling LIVE Gold.

Hold up. I'm not saying that what happened was right, but MS is a business, and must function as such to be successful. If multiple customers complained, then MS is compelled to take certain measures to retain the majority of their customers.

But I do not think that she should have been banned.

SirSchmoopy:
Fag = Lesbian anyway imo. Perfectly acceptable racial slur and most likely she was called a fag not because she was gay but because she was being a fag which is totally different in the internet world.

I don't think she was flaunting it sir.

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