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.”