Identifying Yourself As A Lesbian Gets You Banned On XBOX Live

Teresa says that she was harassed by other players and later suspended from XBOX Live because she identified herself as a lesbian in her profile. When she appealed to Microsoft, she says they told her that other gamers found her sexual orientation “offensive.”

Teresa says:

I just recently saw a thing on your site about someones gamer tag being banned because it had the word gay in the tag.

I had a similar incident, only my account was suspended because I had said in my profile that I was a lesbian. I was harassed by several players, ‘chased’ to different maps/games to get away from their harassment. 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.

As if xbox live is really appropriate for kids anyways! My account was suspended and xbox live did nothing to solve this, but instead said others found it offensive.

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.

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!

We’ve heard of gamers being suspended for identifying themselves as gay in their GamerTag, and even one case of a guy whose name was actually “Richard Gaywood” but his tag was suspended anyway because apparently the word “gay” is so offensive that it doesn’t matter if its actually your name.

As far as we know, Microsoft is unwilling to reconsider this position.

(Photo:Milkham)

UPDATE: Microsoft confirms their policy regarding self-identifying sexual orientation.

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  1. Maous says:

    So all those shoot-em-up games with blood, sex, violence, and cussing isn’t apparently NEARLY as scarring as sexual orientation to peoples children.

    …Who the hell gets their kids an x-box Live account anyways? Parents these days…

    • katoninetales says:

      @Plaything: You can set up your kids’ accounts so they can only play with friends and all friends have to be approved by you. There’s nothing wrong with getting them accounts, just with allowing them unfettered access then being offended by other people on the service. It’s like allowing them free rein on the internet and then becoming angry that there’s pornography there.

      • Nick1693 says:

        @katoninetales: “It’s like allowing them free rein on the internet and then becoming angry that there’s pornography there.

        Reminds me of the Parent’s Television Council…

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Plaything: Probably the multitudes of parents who, when notified their child was attempting to buy a rated M game, would shrug and say “It will make them shut up.” (First hand experience as a Game Stop employee) Or perhaps even the ones who proceeded to beat their children *in the store* when we told them.

      Or the other multitudes of parents who don’t care what their kids are doing as long as they aren’t bothering them?

    • strathmeyer says:

      @Plaything: “…Who the hell gets their kids an x-box Live account anyways? Parents these days…”

      Yeah, next thing you know parents are going to let their kids go outside???

    • arl84 says:

      @Plaything: Sorry but as a gay man myself I must side with Microsoft on her username.

      I like to play world of warcraft, and I’m actually in a gay guild there – or used to be. Anyway, it was a popular guild and we’d get people coming and going – one time, there was a player named “Gayone.” I’m not going to comment on the un-originality of the name(even tho I really want to) but one day, the wrong person saw it and reported him. And they made him change his name. You should have seen how hard he cried discrimination, but if you think about it – they had a really good point in making him change it.
      Do you ever see gamers with “straight” in their username? No, because it’s none of our business. Just like being gay is nobody’s business but your own. I’ve always opposed putting things like this in your username. If you can have a separate, more detailed profile on your account, where someone can go to see more information about you – then by all means, be out and proud there. But not in your username. Or at least be subtle about it.

      She should, however, not have been harrassed by other gamers (who were probably just boys that were pissed she wasn’t interested in them) And it’s a shame that Microsoft does nothing to help her there. Harrassment is harrassment, it doesn’t matter that she was asking for it with a username like that.

      You don’t need to be putting your business out there for everyone to see. Just change your tag.

      • c0ntro1 says:

        @arl84: Aside from the fact that I completely disagree with your point (so if someone’s username indicated their ethnicity or some other characteristic they personally identified with, you would respond “You deserve what you get for not being subtle.”?), if you read the post again she had the information in her PROFILE, not her actual tag.

        Xbox Live asked her to fill in information about herself, so she did. That is basis for suspending her?

      • poedgirl says:

        @arl84: Your entire argument is invalid considering you didn’t even read the article. Her gamertag did NOT have anything leading to her sexual preference. It was in her profile.

      • Antediluvian says:

        @arl84: Not being an Xbox user or WoW player, I’m curious when you say you’ve never seen users w/ “straight” in their names.

        Anyone ever say any of these, or something like them?
        girllover
        girlwatcher
        iheartgirls
        idigchicks
        BBWlover
        biglovelover
        milfhunter
        milfislander

        Or race:
        blackstallion
        indianprincess
        utahraja
        italianstallion
        blacklover
        whiteboy
        texmex

        Anything like these?

        • Decius says:

          @Antediluvian:

          All of them would be subject to a name change in WoW if reported, since they are phrases instead of names (see my post above). No idea about XBL though, I don’t own a X-Box 360.

      • Decius says:

        @arl84:
        “Gayone” as name in WoW is forbidden regardless of the content: you can’t have a name that’s a phrase or several words (“Bringiton” “TomthePaladin” etc).

      • Mike_Hawk says:

        @arl84: “She should, however, not have been harrassed by other gamers (who were probably just boys that were pissed she wasn’t interested in them)”

        My guess is that it has more to do with her being a girl than anything else. Xbox live, and honestly most open to the public online gamin communities are overly populated with tween boy retards that are more enthralled with a place they can use stereotypes and slurs without having to answer to authority for it.

        Girls online are badly out numbered, and alas, the sub culture of pre-teen and teen boys is that girls are a target of conquest. Add that she is gay on top of it, and this only gives them more reason to be jerks.

        My advice would be to change the damn profile (again, I don’t comment on my marital status, sexual orientation, job, education level or hair color in my profile) and ignore the little dreks.

      • Beerad says:

        @arl84: Yeah, I kinda agree that you probably don’t need to advertise anything about your sexuality on Xbox Live, but that just means Microsoft shouldn’t be discriminating against a particular group. If I had a quarter for every “xxBigWangxx” or “Ibonedurmom97″ tag I saw, I’d be as rich as Bill Gates.

      • Adam Sanford says:

        She didn’t have anything gay in her gamertag. Re-read, please. It was in her profile, NOT her tag. As you say, harassment is harassment, and I can’t count the number of times I hear anti-gay slurs hurled about by these, “children”. With that much hate online aimed at one particular group, I think that group should fight back. And fight back hard. Don’t lie down and take it. Have they beaten you already? NO! FIGHT IT!@arl84:

  2. mookiemookie says:

    Since when was Xbox live a place to advertise your sexual orientation, gay or straight?

    • Ubik2501 says:

      @mookiemookie: Since when is being open about your sexual orientation a crime?

      • mookiemookie says:

        @Ubik2501: Who said it was?

        • Saboth says:

          @mookiemookie:

          I believe the point is, you can advertise anything you want about yourself on xbox live or anywhere else for that matter. If she had put in “catholic, black, iranian”, I doubt they would have an issue with it. Land of the free, and all that…

          • Eryk says:

            @Saboth: The problem is that being Catholic, African American, or Iranian isn’t exactly a hotly debated social issue.

            And while its definitely the “land of the free,” that whole argument doesn’t exactly mean much on a private network that you pay to have access to. If you don’t like it, you vote with your cash.

            When I play video games, I play it to get away from all the stuff going on in the world. I don’t want it complicated by gay/straight Repub/Dem, choice/life nonsense. I just want to have a good time.

            I’d imagine that some parents might not want to explain to their 6 year old playing Viva Pinata or something what a “lesbian” is either. Lets let the kids maintain their innocence and have fun being kids, and let those of us who just want to play a damn game play a damn game without having to think about all the things that go on around us.

            • rhinestonedarling says:

              @Eryk: I would really love to think that simply being gay- not gay marriage, or gay adoption, or anything like that… just being gay… stopped being a “hotly debated social issue” in, like, the 80s. But that’s just me.

              • acrobaticrabbit says:

                @rhinestonedarling: thank you. agreed. why is it such a HORRIBLE thing to explain to a kid what a lesbian is? how HARD is it to say to a kid, some girls like other girls. or some boys like other boys. it’s not a big deal. it’s people who are so phobic of even talking about homosexuality, not gay marriage, not gay rights, just being gay, that are behind the times.

              • Eryk says:

                @rhinestonedarling: You know, I fully agree. I wish it wasn’t so hotly debated. I wish people would just come to the middle, stop the crazies on both sides, and figure something out.

                But unfortunately, its not the case.

            • nakedscience says:

              @Eryk: Oh, come on. “lets let kids maintain their innocence” — because GAYS ARE EVIL!

            • harlock_JDS says:

              @Eryk:

              depends on where you live. In some places being a Catholic, African American, or Iranian is a social issue.

            • hegemonyhog says:

              @Eryk: Religion, race and ethnicity are no longer hotly debated social issues?

              Hot damn!

              • Eryk says:

                @hegemonyhog: I take it you do professional work misinterpreting what people say – you’re almost good at it.

                If you care to reread, specific examples of the above were brought up. Not generic religion, race, and ethnicity. All three of those could definitely be hotly debated. Catholicism, which almost a quarter of this country is, probably can’t be taken as “hotly debated.” Although certainly some Catholic priests have tried to make it so. But the term “religion” applies to everyone, even athiests who just don’t believe in a religion.

                African Americans…not sure whats hotly debated? Are there race issues? Absolutely – and that’s a hot topic as well. But its not limited to them, in fact it covers everybody.

                Iranians…maybe I’ll backup a bit on this one, cause certainly they like to cause a commotion in their own country. I would hope that any of the ones over here are fair minded people that want the American dream. Sounds good to me. But if the point of the original person was to discuss middle eastern ethnicity, then sure, that’s pretty hotly debated as well. The category “ethnicity,” as I’m sure you already know, involves everybody, not just groups.

                The bottom line – homosexuality and gay marriage are something this country debates alot currently. Some people get angry about it, and Microsoft (right or wrong), is probably trying to make their Live experience as controversy-free as possible.

                We can debate all day long WHY its controversial, but the fact is that it IS controversial. Its easier to not have it around, and its their right to do so. Vote with your money if you feel differently.

            • homestar says:

              @Eryk:

              Eryk the majority of Xbox games that are played most often via Xbox live are not games that a 6 year old should be permitted to play in the first place. There is a reason for those large, bolded “M’s” on games.

              What, are you going to ban little Johnny who has two mommies or two daddies from going to public school because the other children may return home and ask questions?

              If someone’s sexual orientation (simply the mere mention of it in this case) is going to lessen your enjoyment of Gears/Halo/GTA etc., well. . I just don’t know how to respond to that.

              • Eryk says:

                @homestar: Yep – majority are probably “M” rated. Kids shouldn’t be playing them – I wholeheartedly agree. No issue there. However its not the perfect world, and its not gonna happen. Kids will play the games, because that’s what they do. Mom and Pop aren’t always around, and that’s a shame. And its the parents fault of course.

                Your whole “public” school argument is fundamentally flawed. This isn’t a “public” network. As a parent, I have the option to take my children to a private school that believes in the same principles my family does. When that school doesn’t perform adequately for me, they don’t get my money anymore. When my child is disruptive to the school and goes against their rules, she’d be thrown out. If it happened in a public school, its not quite that easy. =)

                And your last comment…for someone who’s clearly sensitive to others needs (homosexuals being able to promote their lifestyle), I would hope you’d be sensitive all around, including those who just don’t like seeing ANY political/social nonsense in a game, whether it be a name, profile, motto, whatever. Equal rights, right? Aren’t you concerned with my feelings too? Or have we taken a page from Animal Farm – everyone is equal, some are more equal than others?

                Eliminate anything referring to sexuality like their TOS suggests (lesbian, straight, gay, whatever), and fair is fair. That’s what MS should be doing. If they aren’t, vote with your dollar.

                Its a shame that our society doesn’t show equal rights for everyone, but we get to a point where some are so uptight and think that the other side has absolutely no basis for complaining or being upset or not liking something, that they miss the point of tolerance.

                • homestar says:

                  @Eryk:

                  I cannot argue with you on the first point. A parent can be as vigilant as possible and their children can still find a way to play the games they want to either by going to a friend’s house or simply buying the game themselves at a Gamestop from a pimply faced kid who could care less.

                  While I would dispute your argument that Xbox live isn’t “public”, I will follow you down the path of a private school that just says “no to homos” if you will. Eryk I would sincerely be surprised to know that there are private schools in the United States who publicly advocate against homosexuality. In these times, it doesn’t pay to be discriminatory. Further, if you think by sending your child to a private school will shield him or her from hearing the slur, “fa–ot” or “d–e”, you are quite naive. Unless you keep your child locked away in the basement, they are going to encounter GLBT folks, whether they are at the most prestigious private schools, or getting a slurpee at your local 7-11.

                  Unfortunately Eryk, simply stating that you are a lesbian does not qualify as a political/social statement. It is analagous to stating your gender/race/nationality/religion etc on a government-issued form. This woman was not writing lesbian erotica nor was she taking a “radical” social stance by decrying those who are against homosexuality. She simply stated point blank that she was indeed gay. Further, like many have already stated, this wasn’t in a username, it was in an area where you had to actively click on her name to obtain further information.

                  I simply don’t see this issue as you do: I do not believe that by using the word “lesbian” means (a)that you are “promoting”, and (b) that being gay is a lifestyle. But of course, that is for another thread. Personally, I wouldn’t make my sexuality known on a gaming account, but if you so choose to, I’m not going to enjoy playing MGS4 any less.

                  Believe me, I have been and will continue to vote with my pocketbook with regards to anything Microsoft. Just another reason to own a PS3 and openly mock those with a Zune.

                  • Eryk says:

                    @homestar: Heh, I’ll openly mock those who have a Zune as well, right along with you on that. On the other stuff however…

                    My introduction of the private school debate wasn’t to suggest that one exists that says no to homosexuals (although I’m pretty sure they exist). It just goes in tandem to say that since they are private, they can do whatever they want, within a certain standard. They can’t REFUSE someone’s business if they are gay, which in this case they didn’t. She went against the TOS and therefore got the boot. Which I think we can all somewhat agree that its a bit much, but where do we draw the line? Profiles? Mottos? Where? As soon as they open it up in profiles, people will be bitching that they don’t allow it in the username. “Comon! Its just one more step!”

                    Rules are rules. When we debate rules after the fact, its a good debate. But we shouldn’t suggest that MS shouldn’t have followed their rules, or suggest how they should interpret their rules. That’s their job as a company, and ultimately their PR department’s problem. As we vote with our pocketbooks, they’ll decide what’s right for them, as with any other company we badger on this website.

                    I actually don’t think the word lesbian promotes a kind of lifestyle either, especially in a profile. I think that being gay is a lifestyle, but I think just about being anything is a lifestyle. Quite possibly, my definition of lifestyle just happens to be broader than some.

                    “Unfortunately Eryk, simply stating that you are a lesbian does not qualify as a political/social statement.”

                    Well, it certainly brought about a political/social discussion in here! While it doesn’t qualify as a statement, it certainly raises political/social questions.

                    All I’m saying…

                    1) She didn’t follow the rules
                    2) Its not up to us to interpret what phrases are deemed “bad” for profiles
                    3) MS will pay for their decisions with $$$ and bad PR if its a bad call on their part
                    4) Let them fuck themselves over?

                    To me, its not a huge deal. I’d like anyone who has lesbian, gay, straight, heterosexual, bisexual, or monkeylover in their profile/name/motto to get the boot. Its about following rules instead of pretending that the rules didn’t exist and complaining about it.

                    • homestar says:

                      @Eryk:

                      Again, I simply do not believe an Xbox live community account is truly private. Any individual with an Xbox and internet can have an account and you have the option of receiving an account without being required to pay a cent(I believe it’s silver or something to that effect). To my knowledge, there aren’t different terms of use based on pay/non-paying users. There is just not enough exclusivity IMO for this community to be deemed “private”.

                      Further, when this woman agreed to the Xbox terms of use, she was agreeing to enter into a contract with Microsoft and if breach of contract was to be alleged, the contract would be governed by laws of the state of Washington. They agreed to protect her from abuse and harassment, while she agreed not to create any form of content that related to topics/content of a sexual nature.

                      While I believe a dispute over an Xbox account is pretty small potatoes given the current climate in the U.S., I would relish in seeing Microsoft take a hit for this via breach of contract. They first allowed other users to abuse/harass this woman and then in turn, the company itself actively condoned the exact behavior they promised they would prevent. As I stated above, I would be surprised to see a court find that this woman breached the contract herself by the mere mention of the word “lesbian” in her profile.

                    • Eryk says:

                      @homestar: I guess I’d have to wonder what your definition of “truly private” is. How much more private can it be than Xbox live?

                      Not only do you have to buy the hardware, but a yearly subscription. Its not a network you can connect to on a computer, so that rules that out.

                      So, very specific hardware, yearly fees, what’s not to see as private? The fact it has alot of people on it? Comon…

                      Heck to some level I think the PS3 network is even private, it would require me to buy a POS3 to get on it. Its not like I can login from my home computer.

                      These are private networks. With private rules.

                      I concede that this is the type of thing that could go to court, but any judge who doesn’t rule by his/her political affiliations would more than likely throw it out. Refusing her the original service because she’s a lesbian WOULD be an offense. Kicking her off the service because she violated the TOS (NOT cause she’s a lesbian) is not an offense.

                      All that being said, I’d be surprised if M$ didn’t make its TOS more clear immediately about including sexual orientation in its their TOS – its the safest bet for them.

            • Cyberxion101 says:

              @Eryk: That, my friend, is such a retarded argument against this that it’s not funny. Chiefly because it was in her profile. You’d have to be poking around in there in order to have read it.

              Now if you’re so opposed to real-world happenings preverting your online escapades, then you’re not gonna want to read people’s profiles. That’s more information than you apparently need, so it shouldn’t matter if someone mentions that she’s a lesbian in her profile, or some dude mentions that he digs guys, or that others still may have mentioned whatever you consider to be a hot-bed topic in there, because you shouldn’t be reading it in the first place. To do so would put too much of a strain on your ability to enjoy your chosen means of escapism after all, right? And if you chose to do it anyway on the basis that it is your right to do so, then you need to shoulder responsibility for that and deal with whatever it is you see there, even if it’s a reminder that some women like to sleep with other women exclusively. Something that I can’t see being so off-putting that it ought to take you out of the illusion.

              The same goes for kids. If you don’t want them exposed to potentially damaging information, then you don’t park them in front of a game console and allow them to play games online with people they don’t know, while you’re off doing God knows what. They’re going to poke around, and they’re going to be exposed to things that you might not want them to be exposed to. And it’s all going to come to a rest in your lap at the end of the day as a parent. You being used here in a general sense, not you personally.

              The point is, personal responsibility goes a long way. You can piss and moan about how you want your games to remain free of real-world reminders, but you would have to be willing to do your part to ensure that this happens even if it is a reasonable request. If you’re poking around where you don’t really need to be, then you can’t really bitch about what you see.

              • Cyberxion101 says:

                @Cyberxion101: Sorry for calling your argument retarded Eryk. I just tend to respond a lot more strongly than I probably need to when confronted with blatant bullshit.

                It would have been more appropriate for me to say that I regarded your justification to be ridiculous or wholly nonsensical. And while I’m sure the same can be said of my post, I hope that the point stands just the same.

                • Eryk says:

                  @Cyberxion101: No worries man – this is a “hot debate topic,” stuff’s gonna get heated up.

                  Unlike some above, I appreciate you realizing that everyone has their opinion, and that we all have the ability to feel one way or another, and it doesn’t make us “bad people.” Just different.

              • Eryk says:

                @Cyberxion101: You know, there’s really nothing that I disagree with you on your response. You’re absolutely right – in this case, you’d have to DIG to see it. That’s not really the core of my argument, but I probably didn’t make that clear enough.

                So the question is, what is it Microsoft should allow? Where do they draw the line? As soon as we say its ok in profiles, then the next step is in the motto. Then the next step is in the actual account name. Where does it stop? Are we talking about this one act? If so…

                Microsoft’s TOS clearly stated she violated the rules. As long as they’re banning people putting heterosexual in their profile, then they are following their own rules. If they aren’t, then they are hypocrits. Easy as that.

                Now, a debate on the actual RULE that Microsoft created for its private servers, that’s a good debate. Do I think its a bit far fetched? Yeah, it probably is. Maybe its done to avoid the (albeit somewhat assuming) slipperly slope I alluded to above. Maybe not. Maybe they hate gays.

                Either way, rule was broken, her account cancelled, end of story. Vote with your pocketbooks.

            • Sarah Moore says:

              @Eryk:

              If you “just want to play a damn game without having to think about all the things that go on around us.” Then why did you join the X-box live COMMUNITY? Play offline and worship your sweet, sweet rating system for keeping you safe and sound.

              As long as this girl isn’t screaming it out in every match and forcing it upon people who don’t want to hear about it, I don’t see a problem. Did those people really have to go into her profile and read what she put? I don’t know any game that puts that information up while playing or in the lobby. Those people sought out their own discomfort.

              Besides, I don’t harrass my straight friends for showing me their wedding rings because it offends me that I don’t have the same rights as them.

            • Justin Day says:

              @Eryk:

              What you call nonsense may be relevant to another person. I’m sorry, but no one cares if you play games to escape that stuff. It was her profile. If you want to escape, then don’t read the page specifically designed to tell you about the person behind the fictional game character they are controlling.

              If you start regulating on one thing, then the question becomes, where does it stop?

              Live is a community, am I right? Part of being in a community is expressing your own individuality, so that you can meld it with others and create a… community. The individual is very important to the community because that is what makes it up.

              I WILL vote with my cash. The cash that will go in my pocket, since I can play PS3 online for free and it works just as good. And they don’t BAN gay people, as far as I know. Who needs Halo when you can play Killzone 2?

              I say we all do it. Show Microsoft that we ARE paying attention to the wrongs they are committing and that we aren’t afraid to stand up to them.

            • Uncle Scrotar says:

              @Eryk:

              It was in her PROFILE. Someone would have to select her in the menu system (or recent players) and then dig into it, that’s their fucking problem. If i go around opening doors at a whore house, it would be pretty ignorant of me to be shocked and appalled with what i see on the other end.

              I’m all for removing vulgar gamertags, but this country needs to grow up and learn to accept and live with diversity. “Oh my god, my 13 year old son was online playing Gears of War 2 and he sawed a guy in half who’s gamertag was GayGamer… i was so disgusted that i called Microsoft to have him banned.” Anything wrong with this picture? She’s a lesbian, get over it.

            • Anonymous says:

              @Eryk: “Lets let the kids maintain their innocence and have fun being kids”

              Yeah, because explaining to your children that people have different sexual preferences is totally going to ruin their childhood.

        • exconsumer9 says:

          @mookiemookie: You clearly implied it was inappropriate in your first post. I know I know, you’re making the point that ‘just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.’ But having a right to do something does that it does mean that it’s alright to do something, even if if makes someone uncomfortable. That’s the point.

        • qcgallus says:

          @mookiemookie: The XBox Live terms of service. I decided to read them, and I found this:
          “In addition, your use of the Service is subject to your compliance with the Code of Conduct (www.xbox.com/en-us/live/codeofconduct.htm and its successors). You agree that we may also discontinue your access to the Service if you do any of the following while connected to the Service:
          …Create a Gamertag , avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to any of the following: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature…”

          [www.xbox.com]

          I hate to be that guy, but by hitting ACCEPT she was locked into a contract. It’s asinine and discriminatory, sure, but enforceable. Then again, the same ToS has a large section of stalking and abuse…

          • homestar says:

            @qcgallus:

            Yes, but she could simply argue that:

            (a) the word “lesbian” is not a profane term, and

            (b) the mere mention of the word “lesbian” falls outside the true purpose and intention of “sexual nature” (ie you describe sexual acts etc.)

            • qcgallus says:

              @homestar: I agree wholeheartedly on A. “Lesbian,” however, is nothing without a sexual connotation of any sort (a non-animate object can’t be a “lesbian” unless it’s from Lesbos) and I think that’s what Microsoft will argue–”lesbian” has an implied sexual nature.

              Bigoted? You bet.

              • homestar says:

                @qcgallus:

                Oh, I agree. Microsoft would certainly take the bigoted route. However, any lesbian worth her salt so to speak would argue that by stating that she is a lesbian, she is not inviting you to take the sexual connotation, but is simply stating that being a lesbian is part of her identity.

                If I were to say to you that I was a lesbian, and you (not you personally qcgaullus) were to start developing sexual images in your head, that’s your problem, not my mine. As a result, I would be very surprised to see a court uphold this ban based on the terms of agreement.

          • Ubik2501 says:

            @qcgallus: And it’s that failure to enforce equally and properly that should be addressed here, not whether you’re going to be grossed out by somebody saying the word “lesbian” in their profile (that you had to intentionally click on to view) while shooting cops in the head in GTA4.

          • BytheSea says:

            @qcgallus: Saying you’re a lesbian is not talking about sex. Just like when straight people say “this is my wife,” they’re not saying, “this is the woman who lets me fuck her ass on my birthday.” See the difference?

            Now if straight people would stop saying “We’re trying for a baby.” Like, right now? Do you want a room?

          • Melatonin says:

            @qcgallus: If they were calling this a TOS violation, then your argument about her agreeing not to mention anything of a “sexual nature” might have some weight. But they’re not. They’re specifically saying that:

            - she offended other players
            - she was banned for offending other players
            - the offensive act was including the fact that she is a lesbian in her profile

            If they could back that up with a “including that word in your profile is a TOS violation” they would, because, as you say, a TOS is a contract. Breach of contract is a far more legitimate rationale for banning someone from a service than “you made other people feel upset.”

            As for “rubbing her orientation in people’s faces” 99% of people who have the word “married” in their profiles are heterosexual. Are they rubbing their orientation in people’s faces in a situation where it’s not important to know these things about people? Or is it just the dirty queers who need to keep that “stuff” to themselves?

          • Anonymous says:

            @qcgallus:

            You’re wrong, Stating that you are a homosexual is not a) a profanity, b) content of a sexual nature any more than stating that you are a heterosexual, just because it has the word “sex” in it doesn’t make it a sexual profanity. However while reading through the EULA I found some interesting articles among them is this:
            2. Don’t harass, abuse, or spam other players.
            I would call that harassing a fellow player…

      • harlock_JDS says:

        @Ubik2501: since when is being forced to change your x-box live username a punishment for a ‘crime’.

        • Saboth says:

          @harlock_JDS:

          I was under the impression you can’t discriminate based on age, color, religion, etc. For some reason sexual orientation seems ok though.

          I’d say if someone was forced to change their tag because they are jewish, that would be religious discrimination. I doubt someone would have to change it if their name was “Fragger4Jesus” or something.

          • dragonprism says:

            @Saboth: The difference between those two examples is the word “Jew” is it’s often used as a derogatory term. Jesus, however is not.

            I challenge you to find a time when someone said, “Just lend me some dollar, you freakin’ Jesus!”

            • FaustianSlip says:

              @dragonprism: “Gay” is often used in a derogatory fashion, as well. Does that mean that someone who’s gay shouldn’t be allowed to identify himself as such? Actually, strike that. On XBL, that’s apparently just what it means.

              As a Jew (see what I did there?), I’d be royally peeved if I had something to that effect in my gamertag and was banned because it was “offensive.” They probably wouldn’t ban someone with the tag “BornAgain” or “Fragging4Christ” or whatever. Personally, I refuse to let the fact that some ignorant a-holes think the word “Jew” is some kind of epithet deter me from using it as an identifier if I so choose. I personally probably wouldn’t use it in my gamertag, but if someone wants to, let them. Now, “kike” or something like that? Not so much.

              Of all the offensive crap that goes on on XBL, the idea that the moderation team is worrying about a lesbian identifying herself as such in her profile is just ludicrous to me. Especially given the abuse that’s been heaped on her as a result of that descriptor being there, with nothing being done about that. Not cool, Microsoft. Not cool.

          • harlock_JDS says:

            @Saboth: As you can see in other comments they do edit other terms that can be used in a offensive way. I’m sure Fragger4Christ would get banned to.

            Anyhow how does MS know is someone is actually gay or just using the term to offend others? Safer to just ban the usage of the word than to go profile by profile and figure out of the useage is ok or not.

            Not sure why someone needs to promote their sexual orientation on a game matching service (that’s true for all types not just the OP).

          • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

            @Saboth: Unfortunately, as that protection is not explicitly set forth in the constitution, some people see it as free reign. Which is unfortunate.

          • billy says:

            @Saboth: Unfortunately, sexual orientation is not a federally protected class like some other designations (btw: age is only protected some of the time). [en.wikipedia.org]

            That wikipedia entry doesn’t tell the whole story, but hopefully it’s a start.

        • dragonprism says:

          @harlock_JDS: In this case, I think he/she meant, “punishable offense”.

          The OP’s gamer tag wasn’t the issue however. It was her profile.

      • Floobtronics says:

        @Ubik2501: while not a crime, xbox live isn’t an appropriate place for it. Or do straight people who use xbox live put info about their sexual preference in their profiles? Having a wii, and never having played on a 360, I don’t have a frame of reference. Could you clear that up for us?

        I thought the purpose of xbox live was to play games online with people, not have conversations about whether you prefer to have sex with men or women.

        • Ubik2501 says:

          @Floobtronics: Why precisely is it inappropriate? People keep saying it is, but I haven’t seen any reasoning behind that statement yet. Yes, XBL is designed for gaming, but people express plenty of other interests and sentiments on there and none of those seem to have been deemed “inappropriate.” This girl was not saying, “LESBIAN FRAGZALOT 4 LUV,” she merely stated that she was a lesbian in her profile. How is that in any way inappropriate or infringing on anybody’s rights or privacy?

          • cjones27 says:

            @Ubik2501: The point is that XBox Live is a pay-for-play service. There is no “right” to play Halo 3 online.

            Like a commenter mentioned above, they likely ban any instance of the words “gay”, “lesbian”, or other words used to describe homosexuals. The potential for abuse is extremely high (some 13 year old putting “I HATE GAYS” or “ur gay” on his profile or gamertag), so it’s best to ban any usage of the words. But perhaps I’m misreading the story.

            • Kogenta says:

              @cjones27: So here I’m wondering why it just doesn’t reject those words when they’re submitted. Clearly they must have to goto a computer database somewhere. If they did a bit of pre-filtering, they could keep those “words” out of their service automatically instead of having to be so reactive about it.

              Mind you, from what I’ve heard, if you can get 15 or so friends together on xbl, you can get another player auto-temp banned by all reporting that player for something like offensive language.

            • Ubik2501 says:

              @cjones27: That’s ludicrous. So people should be disallowed from typing “gay” anywhere on the internet because the words “I hate” might precede it? That strikes me as extremely lazy moderation. And apparently there’s enough human-controlled moderation that this specific user could be suspended, and the people actually using hateful language against her get off scot-free.

              And to address your first sentiment, this user seems to have been suspended because people found her sexual orientation offensive, which effectively means that the XBL network discriminated against her for her sexuality. There’s no “right” to play Halo 3 online, but that’s obfuscating the issue – the issue is that a business seems to have knowingly and deliberately discriminated against an individual due to reasons of sexuality, which is at least unethical if not illegal.

          • Floobtronics says:

            @Ubik2501: Your profile is your introduction to people who don’t know you. I wouldn’t walk up to someone I’ve never met before and say, “Hi, my name is Floobtronics, and I’m straight. How are you today?” See how stupid that sounds? While it’s not offensive, or some sort of crime, it was inappropriate.

            Being a lesbian isn’t an interest or a hobby, it’s a sexual preference. Interests are things like stamp collecting, bird watching, swimming or photography.

            • sarahq says:

              @Floobtronics: Of course you wouldn’t introduce yourself as straight. You don’t need to. That’s the default assumption.

              Being a lesbian isn’t “sexual preference”. Not in the way that preferring dark chocolate to milk chocolate is a preference. It’s a fundamental part of a person’s identity, and it influences nearly all interpersonal interactions.

              If there was no default assumption that everyone’s straight — if there was no assumption at all — then no, it wouldn’t be necessary for a person to mention it. There’d be no preconceived assumption to counteract.

              Why’s does the assumption that everyone around you is straight need to be counteracted, especially in a non-sexual setting, you ask? Because that assumption leads to invisibility. If you assume everyone around you is straight and they’re unable to correct this assumption, then you’ll go right on propagating that false belief. The invisibility enforces the existing prejudice.

              • samurailynn says:

                @sarahq: Not to mention that girls playing video games in community settings often get hit on by guys. One way for a lesbian to stop that interaction is to let them know “I’m not interested in dating males.” I suppose she could have put that in her profile instead, but she chose to put “lesbian”.

            • Antediluvian says:

              @Floobtronics: (you wouldn’t introduce yourself as straight)
              But that’s exactly what you do you when you (if you’re male) mention your girlfriend or your wife. That’s coming out as straight. It happens all the time. You just never noticed it because you’re part of that group.

              And minorities of all sorts seek comfort and camaraderie with fellow members of that group. That’s why there are rainbow flags, AA stickers, and fish emblems on cars. It’s very similar to an online service: you’re remote and “disconnected” from each other, and you’re putting out a notice that you’re a member of a group.

    • dragonprism says:

      @mookiemookie: It’s not as if she was going up to every person she played against on Halo, killing them, and saying into the microphone, “By the way, I’m a lesbian!” It was IN her profile.

      Having it in the gamertag, I can understand. It’s too exploitable to use against another user in an offensive manner. Having it in your profile and being banned for it…I don’t get it. Something “doesn’t jive” about it.

      Simply put, it’s wrong that she gets punished when those harrasing her doesn’t.

    • t0ph says:

      @mookiemookie: I don’t personally know if there is a field in the profile to fill in stating such (I doubt it). However, there is obviously a history (as per the accompanying stories) of anti-gay anything going on with this arm of the company (a publicly traded on at that)

    • tc4b says:

      @mookiemookie: Since when was indicating your sexuality expressly prohibited?

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      @mookiemookie:

      Couldn’t this be construed as discrimination? Don’t hurl hatebombs in my direction, it’s a serious question. Would they have the same reaction if a player noted that they’re hetero in their profile? Or in their gamertag? Doubtful.

      • mookiemookie says:

        @LadySiren: I didn’t hurl any hatebombs in your direction?

        I quote harlock JDS: “Not sure why someone needs to promote their sexual orientation on a game matching service (that’s true for all types not just the OP).”

        There’s plenty of places where it’s acceptable, appropriate and encouraged to promote your orientation, be it gay OR straight. If you’re so obsessed with your sexual identity that you have to have it in your profile when you’re playing Halo, then that’s a bit creepy.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          @mookiemookie:

          Mookie, that wasn’t directed at you; it was a preemptive “no hatebombs!” strike. :)

          • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

            @LadySiren:

            (sigh) WTB edit button. Preemptive strike at hatebombs from the other Consumeristas who I’m guessing will lob them at me for asking whether this is discrimination.

        • Ubik2501 says:

          @mookiemookie: So what you’re saying is, guys should no longer be able to have handles like “LadiesMan7273″ or “SuperPimp3395,” because they’re obviously too focused on their sexual identity. Or is it only the gays and lesbians who need to shut up and sit down because it’s “creepy?”

          • mookiemookie says:

            @Ubik2501: I know you’re dying to paint me with the homophobe brush, but it ain’t me. I think those names are just as stupid for a game matching service like Xbox.

            • Ubik2501 says:

              @mookiemookie: I’m not accusing you of being homophobic, and I apologize if my tone was a bit combative. I’m trying to highlight what seems to be a disparity between people’s perception of heterosexual and homosexual sexuality, and how they regard how those should be expressed in life and online (e.g., you seem to regard the heterosexual expressions as merely “stupid,” but the homosexual ones as “creepy” between two of your posts). The XBL network seems to regard users with a similar kind of disparity, and in acting upon it acted in a discriminatory fashion towards that user.

              Whether or not that expression is necessary or appropriate in either case really isn’t the issue here: The issue is that XBL seems to, in this case, discriminate against a user for sexuality even though they did nothing to knowingly violate the TOS and were in fact harassed by users who likely were violating the TOS in doing so.

              • athensguy says:

                With his username, you need to be accusing him of something other than homophobia. His username is a mild ethnic slur repeated.

        • picardia says:

          @mookiemookie: You’re the one who sounds obsessed with people’s sexual identities, not her.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @mookiemookie: Or, and this is just off the top of my head, maybe she mentioned it in her profile to discourage male players from flooding her inbox with messages proclaiming their nerd-boners for her?

          I dunno what her motivation is, but I think it’s ignorant and unfair of you to just assume that she put that in her profile because she’s obsessed with her sexual identity. That’s some ass-backwards thinking.

      • edsobo says:

        @LadySiren: I had this exact same thought when I read the article.

        Well, not exactly the same. I just wondered if “DudeWhoLovesLadies” was taken.

    • twritersf says:

      @mookiemookie: Since when is simply stating a fact about a personal, inherent characteristic, when the capability to do so is offered, “promoting” or “advertising?”

    • P_Smith says:

      @mookiemookie: Did you say the same thing to James Brown about his song, “I’m Black And I’m Proud”?

      If not, then shut up.

      • Batwaffel says:

        So let me get this strait… if I go into my Xbox live profile and put:

        **************************
        !!!!!!!!I’M STRAIT!!!!!!!!
        **************************

        All through it, no one will have a problem? I’m sure I’d catch grief from some players. Games are a place to shoot people or play games, not shove your sexual orientation in peoples faces. I don’t care if you’re strait or gay, I care if you can back me up in a battle or not.

        There is a time and a place for everything. Xbox is not the place.

        • hegemonyhog says:

          @Batwaffel: I’d wonder why you were so proud of being a narrow channel of water, myself.

        • Colage says:

          @Batwaffel: “Games are a place to shoot people”

          Thank God someone understands. XBL is supposed to be full of violence, sexual references are inappropriate for the younger audiences playing.

        • Christopher Hammitt says:

          @Batwaffel:

          I’d have a problem with your damn spelling skills, or lack thereof.

          In regards to the topic:

          If people have a problem with gay being in someones profile or signature, then they should remove themselves from the Live community. I have to question someones motive to complain about having “gay” or “lesbian” in their profile and/or signature, yet be totally ok with their 5 or 6 year old being allowed to LISTEN to the crap that gets said over the servers. Are you people kidding me? You’re offended because you or your child see a benign word like ‘gay’, yet are completely ok with the racist, homophobic, douche comments that get thrown around while you’re playing Halo. REALLY.

          There has yet to be a good excuse for banning a user who identifies with being gay, and putting it out there and not doing the same for a user who identifies as straight and puts that out there (and from my experience) in a much more raunchier way. FraggedURMom3434 Holla!

          I also agree, if you’re concerned with your 5 or 6 year old learning about “omg the gayz!” too early, then you’re parenting skills are severly lacking if you are then letting them play on Live to begin with.

      • mookiemookie says:

        @P_Smith: Yes because the two are COMPLETELY ANALOGOUS!

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @mookiemookie: I’m curious as to whether they cancel people’s accounts for saying something like “I am not gay,” or even, “I am straight” in their profile.

      It would make a good test.

    • CharlieInSeattle says:

      @mookiemookie: Why should it matter?

    • Stephen Sudholt says:

      @mookiemookie: LOL. First of all why does Microsoft allow people to put their sexual preference on their Xbox Live account. Two, people should grow up. Third, if you don’t like what someone else says, you could be nice and say, “Hey, I don’t like (whatever it is). Fourth, if you don’t like the environment, find something better to do with your time (i.e. Parents spend time with your kids) :).

    • Dyscord says:

      @qcgallus: So, saying she’s a lesbian is “content of a sexual nature?”

      Come on. If someone has that they’re 21 and straight then that would be fine, but saying “I’m a lesbian” is a punishable offense?

      She probably thought that saying it in her profile would stop all of the guys from hitting on her or something.

      A good bit of people in my friends list mention that they’re gay. Hell I have it in my profile that I’m bi. So we’re all violating the terms of service because we express who we are just like everyone else can in their profiles?

      Gotta love the irony that she’s being punished but the guys harassing her weren’t.

  3. RosettaStoned says:

    A guy I know is half jewish, and his xbox live handle was “DirtyWhiteJew”. They told him he couldn’t have the word ‘jew’ in his name and made him change it.

    • dorianh49 says:

      @RosettaStoned: OJ Simpson… NOT A JEW.

    • P33KAJ3W says:

      @RosettaStoned:

      I was forced to change mine (I am Jewish and P33KAJ3W was not cool with them)

    • Rhayader says:

      @RosettaStoned: Yeah but if you had identified yourself as a Jewish person in your profile, I doubt they would have kicked you off. I assume they wouldn’t want words like “Jew” (or “gay”, for that matter) in an actual gamertag, as it could be used by a Nazi or Homophobe in derogatory fashion.

      • RosettaStoned says:

        @Rhayader: oh it wasn’t me…and i do understand why they did it, i could see some skinhead naming himself “jewkiller” or something if that sort of thing was allowed. that was just my first exposure to how strict they are with gamer tags and it surprised me.

        @P33KAJ3W: hee hee, i think P33KAJ3W is cute.

      • RosettaStoned says:

        @Rhayader: hmm, i also see now that the ‘lesbian’ reference was in her profile, and not her gamer tag? that’s weird, yeah i can see them not allowing certain words for a tag, but your profile? i wonder what their policy is on this….if my friend put that he was jewish in his profile, would that be banned, like with the lesbian? hmmmm…

        • Rhayader says:

          @RosettaStoned: Let’s just forget about it and get stoned. I’m guessing from your username that you would be down for some tokeage.

          • RosettaStoned says:

            @Rhayader: lol, yes you would be correct sir. and for the record, i have no problem ending conversations that way. i have some really argumentative friends…it’s easier just to get them baked so they’ll shutup. lol.

  4. am84 says:

    Something similar happened to my friend – he listed that he is gay in his profile and was banned. If my memory serves me right, he eventually gave up and created a new account.

    • Patrick Henry says:

      @am84:

      I Added it in in my profile. This will not stand. When the profile says “Tell us a little about yourself..” then why can’t you?

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @am84:
      Your “memory” or the story you made up? Microsoft doesn’t permanently ban you for profile violations. They clear out your profile and ban you for a day.

      • Dyscord says:

        @I_am_Awesome: Perhaps he meant to say that it was in his gamertag.

        It’s still ridiculous. That people can’t be mature enough to not let something like sexual orientation bother them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of crap. I’m sorry she has to put up with this stone-age attitude! Just goes to (sadly!) show that humans aren’t “evolved” at all, we’re still just a bunch of stupid animals! :-/

    • Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

      @CorinneGadison: Actually, technically, the problem is we AREN’T animals. Animals couldn’t care less about what sexuality another animal is :P

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @CorinneGadison: Technically speaking…a basic instinct that allows any species to thrive is the one that tells specie-members to reproduce.

      So I guess your argument is that because we still have individuals who aren’t hardwired to propagate, that we’re not fully evolved?

      • Anonymous says:

        @ComcastRedwoodFlyer: There are several species of reef fish that change sexes when the time is needed. A vertebrate animal, of which whom we are related to, does it all the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ComcastRedwoodFlyer: Technically speaking, social species don’t need every single member of the species to procreate. There’s this concept in evolutionary biology of “kin selection.” It has to do with having members of the tribe (or other social group that social animals form) who contribute to the well-being of the entire group, even though they themselves don’t breed.

        For instance, meerkats only have one female in any group who is allowed to breed, the alpha. And only the alpha male gets breeding privileges with the alpha female. All the other females in the family might get the urge to mate, and sometimes to sneak off to do so, but there are terrible social consequences for doing so (up to and including death — the alpha female doesn’t take kindly to rivals).

        We have over 6 billion humans on the planet. We don’t all need to be breeding, so it’s kind of stupid and counterproductive to attack people who aren’t breeders but who contribute to society as a whole.

  6. downwithmonstercable says:

    I don’t think this is anything directly personal. There are a lot of words you can’t use in your gamertag. I’m guessing they don’t allow stuff like this in order to cover all their bases as far as possibly offensive things go. Calling this an anti-gay policy is a bit of a stretch IMO

  7. SitDownNancy_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I’m a male lesbian. Does that mean I can’t identify myself as such? For shame MS. Do you tell your employees they can’t have pride? I mean, your in Washington, not California!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why is this an issue? If I wanted to express my straight sexuallity into my xbox profile, I would expect the same thing. This is a non gamer related issue, almost as if the person is looking for a problem.
    And yes, the statement holds true about an appropriate place for kids, but then again, knowing that it is MOSTLY kids that play this…why did she feel the need to express her “gayness” ?

    • courtneywoah says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: I imagine it was because it said “tell us about yourself” in the profile. Since she identifies as a lesbian that is something she is sharing about herself.

      This has NOTHING to do with being appropriate for kids. We are not talking pornography here, we are talking about words like gay and lesbian. If kids don’t know what those are these days, well heck they need to get out more.

    • hegemonyhog says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: “Appropriate for kids” is an asinine argument. If the very act of having a sexual orientation is inappropriate for kids, then we should only have single parents. After all, having parents of two genders implies a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman having heterosexual sex.

      Kids are exposed to orientation day in, day out. It’s just that homophobic adults can’t think of same-sex relationships without thinking of steamy anal sex and strap-ons.

    • unobservant says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: As a female gamer, sometimes it’s easier to be called a lesbian than to be constantly hit on by your team mates.

      Now why didn’t I think of that?

    • trellis23 says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus:
      So if you put in your profile that you’ve been married for five years, you’d have no problem if your account was banned for flaunting your sexuality? (Because with very few exceptions, you must be straight to be married.)

      • Feminist Whore says:

        @trellis23: I wonder what would happen if a person didn’t use the actual word in their profile? What if, in response to “tell us about yourself” she wrote: My name is Mary, I’m in a long term relationship with a great gal named Sue…

    • Rhayader says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: Sexual orientation is not sexually explicit. A lesbian doesn’t stop being a lesbian when she is not having sex.

    • Baron Von Crogs says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus:

      Yes, she was LOOKING for a problem. Why does her “expressing her gayness” bother you? Also, XBL has people of all ages playing, its hardly all children.

      • SC123 says:

        Sure, ms can ban people for whatever stupid reason they want, but people have a right to complain about. You clealy don’t understand the first amendment

    • bjork73 says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: She mentioned her sexuality in her profile, which is there for people to talk about themselves. Also, what’s with exceptionalizing her “gayness”? If somebody mentions that he or she married in his/her profile, that is (at least in virtually all cases in the U.S.) an overt expression of heterosexuality. Also, as others have mentioned here, merely mentioning one’s orientation is NOT akin to detailing specific sexual acts; one is just as straight/gay/bi/queer brushing his or her teeth as one is in the bedroom.

      Beyond the example of people bringing up their marriage status in their profiles, there’s also the BIG double standard with names expressing hetero male sexual prowess (ladiesman, anything with “pimp” in the name, etc.). There’s also the inherent hypocrisy with the very people who are blatantly breaking Microsoft’s TOS harassing her bringing up her breaching of the TOS, and that’s assuming she did, which is a BIG stretch; if bringing up innocuous personal information in one’s profile is grounds for being suspended, then ANYBODY could be banned if somebody became “offended” for some reason!

    • Dyscord says:

      @AlbionAlcaeus: Because there is a HUGE difference between saying “I’m a lesbian” and saying “I’m a lesbian and I want to *insert explicit sexual act here*”.

      She’s just saying that she’s a lesbian. No different than you saying you’re straight.

      Gamer bios are a place where people are suppose to talk about themselves. Some don’t do that. That’s fine. But when someone actually takes the time to explain who she is, then you shouldn’t ban her for it.

  9. Skankingmike says:

    You do not have freedom of speech in private businesses.

    Thank you, move along.

    • CrowMignon says:

      @Skankingmike: Sure, but denying it in such a stupid, arbitrary way can be Bad Customer Service, which is kind of what this site is about.

    • Bob Higgins says:

      @Skankingmike: This isn’t about freedom of speech. It’s standing up for what’s right. A profile is for describing who you are, which is what she did. If you homophobes are offended by this that’s your problem, not hers.

      • dragonprism says:

        @Bob Higgins: “A profile is for describing who you are, which is what she did.”

        And by doing so, you are exercising the right of “freedom of speech,” the myth of the internets.

        While it’s not RIGHT of Microsoft, Skanking’s got a point. They’ve got the right to do this. But like Crow said, it won’t look favorably on MS and ultimately leads to a degraded level of customer service.

      • jokono says:

        @Bob Higgins: Homophobes? How is this considered fear of homosexuals?

        It has never occurred to me to put “hetero” or “straight” in any of my online profiles — even though either of those adjectives would accurately describe me. I just don’t feel it’s necessary to advertise it. Why do gays? Why the gay flags and rainbow bumper stickers? Why the parades? Ok, you’re gay. Good for you. Shut up already!

        • Colage says:

          @jokono: I agree that it may not necessarily be “homophobia” per se, but the reason that homosexuals feel it necessary to advertise it is because their sexuality, by virtue of its minority status, is a larger part of their identity than straight people. If you think that it’s inappropriate to advertise important aspects of one’s identity, then you could apply the same filters to musical preference, political party, or anything else that can sell bumper stickers.

          • SynicVance2.0 says:

            @Colage: I don’t know about you, but I’m a straight dude and I think being a straight dude is a huge part of my identity, considering my whole life revolves around chasing ass.

        • tmed says:

          @jokono: It is homophobia because the situation seems to illuminate an irrational fear of discussing homosexuality.

          The parades, flags, and rainbows are to draw attention to problems of discrimination that still exist, to show support for those who have suffered from that discrimination. Or simply to develop a sense of community, the same reason Italian, Irish, and Greeks have festivals, parades, bumper stickers.

          Why the hell shouldn’t they have a parade?

        • Anonymous says:

          @jokono:
          It has never occurred to me to put “hetero” or “straight” in any of my online profiles
          Right, of course it doesn’t occur to you to put that in there — because as a straight person you have the privilege of assuming everyone is Just Like You. You never have to worry about hiding who you are because of fear of others’ hatred. You have the luxury, if you choose, of never even having to come into contact with an openly gay person.

          Read here (a famous essay about “unpacking the invisible knapsack” of privilege) or go google “white privilege” or “male privilege” sometime. People from non-dominant identities have to advocate for themselves in ways that would never even occur to the majority (or privileged minority).

        • domesticdork says:

          @jokono: Maybe because most people assume you’re heterosexual in the first place. Maybe because gays are fighting back against the hate just like blacks embraced the idea that “Black is Beautiful!” Maybe because raising awareness that gays are real people in everyday life makes it harder for people to hate and discriminate against them? Maybe because gay rights is an interest of theirs? Maybe because…

          Why do Christians feel a need to advertise their Christianity with Jesus bumper stickers? Because it’s something of which they are proud? Because they want to be identified by it?

          Of COURSE you don’t think to put “straight” or “hetero” in your profile. You’re not a minority! People aren’t going to assume you’re gay if you don’t state otherwise.

        • Janine Murdock says:

          @jokono: Has it occurred to you that, just maybe, it’s because the majority of gamers are hyperactive, hetero little boys, and maybe she had it on there to attract fellow players with whom she had something in common? Your feigned outrage at gay pride is amusing. Unless the parades are interrupting your football, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

        • Antediluvian says:

          @jokono: (why do gay people need to advertise it?)
          Because group members like to find other group members. That’s why Alcoholics Anonymous members put “One Day at a Time” stickers on theirs cars, Christians put fish emblems, and gays and lesbians put rainbow flags.

          This is especially true when you’re not face to face, such as online or in a car.

          When you’re different than the default, it’s a way of finding others with similar interests or affiliations. Nothing wrong with it, nothing “in your face” about it.

        • WorldHarmony says:

          @jokono: You have to be a member of a disrespected minority to truly understand the motivation behind social movements like women’s liberation, Black Pride, Gay Pride and the like. When I entered middle school as one of only three black students, the school was happily celebrating “slave day” in which students sold each other on auction blocks as a fun fundraising activity. Throughout the day I’d have to walk past “slave masters” pulling their “slaves” using fake chains, pretending to beat them, etc. Why did this tradition go on? Because black people didn’t matter to this school as human beings. We also weren’t around in large enough numbers to have any say.

          There is strength in numbers. When minority groups get together and support one another, we have the strength to face racial insensitivity and violence while keeping our sanity, to deal with anti-gay campaigns, and challenge all types of discrimination. We have people whose shoulders we can cry on when we need to. There is strength in numbers. Policy changes can be made when people work together.

          As far as “advertising,” part of being visible means being matter-of-fact about who we are. For example, it is amazing how often the assumption is made that a customer, student, audience member, etc. will be white and straight. Pick up a magazine and you’ll see that even cartoons depict mostly Caucasian. Medical prosthetics and Band Aids were made first for Caucasian skin tones (and mostly still are).

          When people who are NOT members of the majority make themselves visible in small ways- through online profiles, for example- we show that we exist. We are here. We are spending money at your store, on your services. Pay attention so that your services, products and environments aren’t insulting, unsafe, or useless to us. Recognize that you have a market to cater to, which in turn increases your own financial success.

      • cjones27 says:

        @Bob Higgins: Will you speech police quit throwing around “homophobe” for anyone who has the NERVE to not immediately love homosexuals?

    • Ubik2501 says:

      @Skankingmike: It’s not a “freedom of speech” issue, actually, it’s one of discrimination. Other players harassed her purely on issues of sexuality, and Microsoft chose to take punitive action against her based on the fact that some people found her lesbianism offensive. Microsoft is apparently complicit in harassment and discrimination, and this is not something that should be taken lightly.

    • tmed says:

      @Skankingmike: Hey, Skank, no one suggested Micosoft was outside their rights. The article simply outlined the facts.

      There is still the question as to whether or not it is appropriate for Microsoft to ban such actions.

      I tend to favor a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. I don’t want to know if you’re straight, gay, bi, married to 62 different women, or hermaphroditic. Just play the damned game.

      • RandomZero says:

        @tmed: So… take your own advice? The game doesn’t stop and force you to read through the profile of anybody you encounter, does it? If you don’t want to know, that’s fine – but claiming you don’t want to know somehting, expressly seeking it out, and then taking offense is just a bit ridiculous.

      • Ubik2501 says:

        @tmed: How about just “Don’t ask?” Nobody’s forcing you to read people’s profiles. People shouldn’t be forced to censor themselves just so you feel comfortable.

        • tmed says:

          @Ubik2501: I don’t read people’s profiles because I choose to limit that. I do think the “Don’t Tell” side is valid as well. If Microsoft is trying to have a community where sexuality is not an accepted topic, than I have no issue with it. Where I have an issue is that I think they are (likely) limiting only one side of the discussion.

          @RandomZero:
          I do take my own advice, but if there is a rule against discussing sexuality, then I have no issue with it being enforced evenly.

    • DrMorison says:

      @Skankingmike: You don’t? So, let’s say that you own a restaurant or a book store or whatever, it’s okay to say “no lesbians allowed in here?” and because it is a private business that wouldn’t be illegal? I wouldn’t be so sure.

      • dragonprism says:

        @DrMorison: That issue is not the same as freedom of speech. That is discrimination. The difference is one is focused on one group whereas freedom of speech covers a broad spectrum from anywhere to disagreeing with a politician to stating your sexual orientation.

      • lulfas says:

        @DrMorison: No one said she wasn’t allowed to be there because she was a lesbian. The problem is she is “wandering” around the online community advertising it. Microsoft has a rule about discussing sexuality (same as most online gaming communities). By visibly breaking the rule in such an obvious way she caused her own problems. If she had instead NOT discussed her sexuality in such an obvious way, all her problems would’ve disappeared.

        • trujunglist says:

          @lulfas:

          You are so wrong. She wasn’t wearing a banner that said IM A LESBIAN, which would be akin to the gamertag. It was in her profile, which you specifically have to go into and scroll through and whatever. That is akin to asking someone a question about themselves. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask. If you don’t like the answer.. uhhh, go to hell?

        • Janine Murdock says:

          @lulfas: Come off it. She wasn’t ‘wandering’ around anywhere. It was in her profile. It’s not as though she found another lesbian player in Halo and they were spending all their time… er, ‘teabagging’ each other.

        • Anonymous says:

          @undefined: @lulfas: “No one said she wasn’t allowed to be there because she was a lesbian. The problem is she is “wandering” around the online community advertising it.”

          One’s entire profile is an advertisement, so that’s a moot point right off the bat.

          • Anonymous says:

            @SimonGomez: wandering around the online community! Are you serious? So the online community is scared of lesbians? At least she stated what she was whild millions of child molesters, drug addicts, liers, murders wander around the online community who really want to cause harm to your children who are probably on gears of war as we write blowing someone’s brains out. GAYS and Lesbians are people who are in all communities wake up people stop the hate

      • billy says:

        @DrMorison: Public accommodations aren’t allowed to discriminate, but they only have to be mindful of certain protected classes: [en.wikipedia.org]

        Sexual orientation is not a federally protected class, so technically a restaurant etc COULD discriminate against lesbians.

        I’m not sure if Xbox membership would be considered a public accommodation.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @DrMorison: They didn’t deny her service they don’t’ want peoples sexual orientation on their site.

        How is stating you’re a lesbian on a system where their core demographic is under 12-17 boys?

        people should learn when to pick battles.

        @Colage: I doubt major shareholders who can call to vote care much about this right now, there is sort of an economical disaster that could you know destroy the very country they many of them live in.

        @Ubik2501: Actually it’s not discrimination they specifically say they do not want Anybodies sexual orientation announced on their site which is in their rights to do.

        If you walk into a church and scream out “I’m gay and god loves me” and then you cause a riot, guess what your ass goes to jail for inciting a riot. Think about that.

        • tmed says:

          @Skankingmike: Actually, Skank, you would not go to jail for inciting a riot. You go to jail for inciting a riot when you stand up and say “Riot!” or when people you make people feel falsely endangered – yelling “Fire!” in a non-burning theater.

          • Skankingmike says:

            @tmed: You most certalinly would go to jail.

            @Morgan Hatch: Your “freedom” of speech is not absolute hate to break the news to you, but the unfortunate reality is politicians over time and law enforcement have whittled away those rights.

            You have censorship all over the place, and it’s legal. You have to have permits to protest in most cities or you can be harassed by the officers. Many businesses can ask you to not solicate which can be defined anyway you want, from asking for money to simply trying to talk to somebody about regligion. Your constiuttional rights are not absolute there is no garentee of freedom of speech. Especially when you’re on a private company website.

            Next thing you guys will say it’s discrimination if somebody gets devoulved here.

            Stupid argument, just like this article about this women. She should have known better it’s obvious she wanted attention, and she got it.

    • Colage says:

      @Skankingmike: Microsoft is within their rights to suspend/ban someone for identifying themselves as gay, just as an airline is within their rights to remove someone for not having enough clothes on. But, at the same time, what can getyou in trouble with the law and what can get you in trouble with customers or shareholders aren’t always the same thing.

      • Janine Murdock says:

        @Colage: That… has to be one of the strangest analogies I’ve ever read.

      • Anonymous says:

        @undefined: @Colage: ITT letting people know that you are gay is the same as public nudity?

        Christ, you’re dumb. If it were for the interface, I would have sworn that this was youtube, the largest mass gathering of retards on the worldwide web.

        Also, if shareholders are going to get upset that there are gay people involved with the company they hold shares to, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime. You’re grasping at straws here.

    • Morgan Hatch says:

      @Skankingmike: That’s crap. We are guaranteed “Freedom of Speech” everywhere. Microsoft has a choice, they weasled out and picked the easy way, instead of standing up to bullies! Microsoft losers…you suck! Morgan

      • Anonymous says:

        @Morgan Hatch:
        “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”
        See the important identifier there, “Congress”. The US Federal Government is not allowed to make a law preventing freedom of expression, the common expanded interpretation of the clause. The First Amendment DOES NOT impose any limitation whatsoever on private business.

        Let me say that again. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States applies to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, not private business. Last I checked, Microsoft is not the ruling party, and therefore their practices are what they determine.

        If you put your sexual orientation in your profile, and it offends enough people to constitute you violating TOS, tough shit. Yes, the idiots that caused problems should also have repercussions, but the fact of the matter is that she brought this on herself by stating it in an online profile. Yes, that is her right to do so, but it does not immediately mean that everyone out there on Xbox Live has to be happy with what she puts up.

    • AwesomeJerkface says:

      @Skankingmike:

      Don’t play Wii then do you? Medal of Honor 2: Hereos, the number 1 online player’s name is AuschwitzGas (and plays for the Axis). Now that’s offensive.

  10. BeerManMike says:

    Bah, let gays, jews, lesbians keep it. If your son/daughter is searching for these tags then he/she already knows about them.

    Seems like they’re hiding behind the “Think of the children” firewall.

  11. rpm773 says:

    I predict people on both sides of this argument will have come together with sound compromise by the time Consumerist closes the posting for this thread.

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @rpm773: LOL. Let’s track down IP addresses and facebook profiles for everyone like with the iphone. Get everyone together and group hug, and all that. It’ll be another consumerist victory.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    That’s so screwed up I can’t even get snarky about it.

  13. SacraBos says:

    Am I the only one that thinks the (‘) icon on the XBox is appropriate, because it looks like it’s flipping the bird?

    • Anonymous says:

      @SacraBos:
      it’s the universal symbol for the power button/indicator. My computer has a button like that, so do most other electronic devices… sometimes it looks like a circle with a line inside it, but the point is, is that it represents the on/off state of the device, hence why it is a zero with a 1 within it.

    • acrobaticrabbit says:

      @SacraBos: probably. it’s the universal symbol for “power”. i.e. On, Off. it’s on your computer too, if you have a PC and monitor.

      • dialing_wand says:

        @acrobaticrabbit: Actually, it was originally the universal symbol (IEC 5009), but between all the designers who didn’t know any better and devices that don’t fully power themselves off when you press the “power” button it now also acceptable as a power button (IEEE 1621). It’s a wonderful example of ignorance becoming fact. Now that is universal.

    • PriceIsWrong says:

      @SacraBos:

      That’s more like flicking the bean if you know what I mean.

      This is just retarded though, why would the company ban someone for being gay/lesbian? I’d demand a refund on my account, and hell, call the ACLU or whatever organization is in charge of peoples rights.

      I’m not gay, but I don’t think something as stupid as this should be overlooked. Besides, isn’t it Live where everyone is calling someone a fag or dike in the middle of game play?

      If I ever bother to get an XBox with Live I’m going to identify myself as Chuwero, see where that gets me.

  14. incognit000 says:

    How offensive can it be if it’s one of the most heavily used words on XBL?

    Seriously. Every time I get on GOW2, it’s “OMG that was so gay!” and “Stop being so gay!” and “Using the mortar is so f***ing gay!”

    They also use another euphamism for homosexual pretty regularly. Honestly the only place I /don’t/ hear it is playing Left 4 Dead, because I only play that with people on my Friends list.

  15. zachbeason says:

    What screws one of us screws all of us.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Paying for a service, you should be allowed to give yourself any handle you choose. Just another way of taking ownership away from consumers (you’re technically leasing their services for a period).

    The words “gay” and “jew” can be used as insults but are also neutral descriptors. Banning their use altogether does not allow users to identify themselves as gay or Jewish. Micro$oft could cover their asses by holding users responsible for their own gamer tags.

    • RosettaStoned says:

      @RobinMussaid: and it seems to me that banning those words only reinforces their power as a derogatory. if you teach kids those are ‘bad words’, then just become MORE offensive. I think ‘jew’ and ‘gay’ should not be thrown in the same box as the n-word and other purely derogatory racial slurs.

      also, where do they draw the line on ‘identifying’ onself as a certain demographic? if someone was a rabbi, should they not be allowed to say so in their profile?

    • billy says:

      @RobinMussaid: “Paying for a service, you should be allowed to give yourself any handle you choose.”

      But Microsoft OWNS it. Shouldn’t Microsoft, the company that put it’s money into development and owns the whole thing have a say in this too? (btw: the answer is yes). By your logic, if I own an apartment and rent it out, those renters should be able to paint, tear down walls, wreck the place etc just because they pay for the limited use of my property. No way: the person who owns the property can put rules on its use (assuming that no other laws are violated).

      I’m sorry. Your argument makes absolutely no sense.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @RobinMussaid:
      “Just another way of taking ownership away from consumers (you’re technically leasing their services for a period).”

      Really? You mean it’s just like every other service with a monthly fee? No way.

  17. Tetrine says:

    I’ve been on Xbox live for over 3 years now and I can tell you, someone having the word “lesbian” on their gamer card is the least parents or other people need to worry about being offensive. The number of misogynistic, homophobic, racist people on Xbox live is quite sizeable. I’ve overheard some pretty offensive comments in multiplayer lobbies, as well as been the target of some myself (Gears of War guys are none too tolerant of a girl playing on their skill level!)

    Perhaps Theresa, you’re playing in the wrong gamer community? There’s several to choose from which you can identify yourself with — Family, Recreational, Underground, Hardcore — I don’t remember the exact names, but you get the gist of the categories. Perhaps you should switch to Hardcore or Underground if you are not already there — I find there are lots of open minded people in these communities (and I’ve never heard the word “parent” once), and you learn to just get over the low-lifes — the mute feature works wonders.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Tetrine:

      Completely agree. I am astounded at the racist, misogynistic, homophobic spew that comes out of my XBL headset, some from obviously prepubescent kids. Parents, if any of these are your kids, you have utterly failed in your duty.

    • Dyscord says:

      @Tetrine: The communities don’t mean anything. They’re not separate like Microsoft would have you believe. If you’re in the “pro” community, you can’t set it so that you only play with other people in that community.

      • StreamOfConsciousness says:

        @Dyscord: Agreed. I am in the ‘underground’ community yet I am almost constantly matched up with a few ‘recreational’ and even ‘family’ members in M rated games nonetheless.

        So they definitely have some work to do on separating communities.

  18. idip says:

    While I”m not a person to go around spamming my sexual orientation I find that most if not all places are homophobic.

    People say “Why are you allowed to tell others of your sexual oritentation”. As if it’s only gay/lesbian people doing it. Sexual Orientation is part of your idenity like it or not.

    If a guy had a gamertag “LadiesMan” I SERIOUSLY doubt it would be banned. Or any number of offensive ‘heterosexual’ slangs for sexual behavior.

    Same goes for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. If you don’t want to hear another guy talking about the guy he went out with the night before then I don’t want to hear about the chick you went out with and what you thought about her.

    The simple argument, sexual orientation is apart of your idenity. It will come up in conversation, appearance, or how you describe yourself. That is not a crime. But we homosexuals like they are breaking a crime and do nothing to heterosexuals when they speak the same words.

    Not about special treatment, it’s about equal treatment…. equal rights.

    Bad Microsoft. If you do this, then you must punish the inappropriate heterosexual declarations of sexual orientation.

    • rhinestonedarling says:

      @idip: Would that include things like “pics plz” to a chick? Because I’d totally get behind that policy.

    • PillowTalk says:

      @idip:

      Pretty much this. I hate the whole “Why do those gosh-darn homersekshuals got to THROW IT IN OUR FACES” argument. Because people should have the right to express who they are, including their sexual orientation, without harassment. If it makes you uncomfortable sorry, but that’s your deal and you have to deal with it.

      • jimconsumer says:

        @JumpingJehosaphat: So, that means I can express my sexual preferences, too, right? “iLikeItDoggyStyle” would be an appropriate handle?

        • Grim Reaper of the Forest says:

          @jimconsumer: I’m sorry, identifying as a lesbian is not related to what graphic sexual position you like. And it was not in her handle. It would be equivalent to having, “I’m married to a great guy” in her profile.

        • domesticdork says:

          @jimconsumer: 1. We’re not talking about handles. We’re talking about profiles.
          2. She didn’t say anything explicit.

          Stop drawing conclusions based on bad logic and false premises.

        • trujunglist says:

          @jimconsumer:

          The chances of you getting away with that, provided it’s available, are about 100%. Whether or not that’s ban worthy does not matter, because 80% of the GTs on XBL are ban worthy. Obviously you haven’t been on XBL; people on there are so idiotic its almost painful. Seriously, it burns and the goggles, they do nothing. Nothing at all.

      • Anonymous says:

        @JumpingJehosaphat:

        Uh. Okay, but homosexuality or heterosexuality are terms with definitions. Both are about sex, both are verboten by the EULA.

        You’ll also notice that your Profile page doesn’t have a gender button, nor does your avatar bear any sexual organs. All you can do is make yourself ‘look’ Male or ‘look’ Female.

        Speaking as an enduser, your sexual preference? How is that important to how well you play video games. How is who you choose to have sex with germaine to your Gamertag?

    • ionerox says:

      @idip: Well put!

      @rhinestonedarling: I hate this. My standard response is “In yr dreams, bitch”, and blocking them.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @idip: Very well stated, and good points!

    • RosettaStoned says:

      @idip: THANK YOU! people complain about gay men holding hands, or a lesbian ‘advertising’ her lez-ness by putting it in an xbox profile, but then i have to hear some douchebag go on and on about how much he likes big boobs or something. please. Maybe teh gays will stop rubbing it in your face that they love homosexuality when heterosexuals men stop using tits to sell everything from burgers to deodorant. i just get so sick of the double standard, as if they don’t ‘rub it in my face’ that they’re straight. like every second of every day.

      • RosettaStoned says:

        @RosettaStoned: ps i am a straight female btw. this is not a biased diatribe, i’m just in favor of common human decency and LOGIC. but i guess that’s pretty much fighting a lost cause, especially when it comes to xbox live lol.

    • Dyscord says:

      @idip: THANK YOU! One of the things that annoy me are people who say that they’re tolerant of gays, as long as they don’t do anything in front of them. But yet, it’s perfectly alright for two straight people to hold hands and kiss because it’s socially acceptable…ugh. Double standards suck

  19. JonThomasDesigns says:

    I had the Gamertag since right around the first day of Xbox Live … AsianNationPimp … Built up a nice 34000 gamerscore .. no issues … Last week out of the Blue they made me change it after posting on Cnet.com ..

    I dint even bother trying to fight it .. but censorship of any kind is sad

  20. silver-bolt says:

    What’s the problem? They’re going to call her gay anyway :P

  21. Corporate_guy says:

    How is one chased around on xbox live? People can only join your specific game sessions and follow you if they are on your friends list.

    I agree that it is dumb to ban people for things in their profiles because the voice chat in games is used purely to be offensive to others. But if they find a profile offensive, they should put a block on the profile. Not ban an account.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Corporate_guy: not true. you can view your friends’ friends & also play matches with other gamers that are not your friends. there’s the mini-dashboard “players” blade, which shows the last few dozen players you’ve played with & i believe you can also view their friends. additionally, the xbox live site allows you to search gamertags.

  22. Mike Kilpatrick says:

    POffensive…really? How bout’ this: I never really played video games because I like to actually meet real people. Real men actually and have hot, hot gay sex! Hows that ?

  23. quizmasterchris says:

    Maybe MS should call it the “XYBox”… or “KKKBox”..?

  24. Herbz says:

    I don’t believe that this was “Microsoft” banning her because she was a lesbian. I believe it was probably a bunch of people who raided her gamertag and put down “Offensive Profile” in the complaints form of her profile. Microsoft autobans users who get too many of these complaints, and it is unlikely that someone who she talked to could reverse this ban.

  25. IHateYourKids says:

    Apparently they don’t mind the word “Hate” in GamerTags

  26. JohnDeere says:

    i find all hetrosexual people offensive. even myself. lets get us all banned.

  27. David Mays says:

    This is ridiculous for a number of reasons:

    1. There are all kinds of offensive gamertags and profiles out there. I constantly see ones with various drug and violence references in them. (420 references, Juggalo, etc.)

    2. XBox Live is not for children, period. If your children are playing on Live unsupervised, the state should take them away from you, as you are clearly unfit.

    3. If I had a nickel for every time I (a straight man) had been called “faggot” in some game lobby, I would be retired, sailing around the world on my superyacht by now. Allowing this behavior, while punishing something as innocuous as a statement of fact about ones self in a profile is, on its face, offensive.

    • Eryk says:

      @David Mays: For someone who seems to advocate freedom for all people, you sure backtrack yourself on telling people how to parent their kids or else they’ll lose them.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @Eryk: It’s a nice dream to think of an adequately funded social system that could take care of cases like the one David mentioned above, but unfortunately that is not the case. And of course, you’d get into the whole eugenics / political beliefs problem if it got to that point.

        But he does make a good argument – parents who don’t feel like adequately supervising their children in ANY context should be reprimanded.

      • David Mays says:

        @Eryk:
        There are different kinds of freedom, all of which come with responsibilities. Freedom to be who you are is different from freedom to decide how you raise your children, in the respect that bad parenting has the ability to ruin a child’s life. Using the word “lesbian” to describe yourself, clearly does not.

        I’m being admittedly hyperbolic in my assertion about the state taking away your children, but I stand by my belief that XBox Live is not for children. It’s an unsuitable environment, most of the time, for most children.

        Unfortunately, enough people have proven they are incapable of properly raising their children, that we have social systems in place to “fix” that problem.

        I’ll also note that “lousy parent” is not a protected class under any discrimination law, anywhere. Homosexuals are a protected class in many discrimination laws.

  28. Leon Gaban says:

    I can’t believe Xbox Live admins banned you because you identified yourself as a Lesbian. That is unbelievable stupid and discriminatory.. there is nothing wrong with being gay, stupid conservatives.

    You should contact the ACLU and sue em… yet another reason Xbox sucks PS3 + Wii <3

  29. sinfuly Delicious says:

    I am forever known as the pwning pansy on xbox lol

  30. Vanilla5 says:

    ://jezebel.com/5159673/theres-something-about-rachel&feature=player_embedded

  31. Razorgirl says:

    Easy solution. Get a large group of XBox Live gamers/friends to all make note of the fact that they are straight in their profiles. If nothing is said or done about it there is an obvious, documented bias, and Microsoft’s image can be seriously tarnished in the media.
    If the same steps are taken by Microsoft upon accounts that note their orientation as straight in the profile as those who state they are gay or lesbian, then the whole debate should be dropped. If the issue is announcing your sexual orientation at all and is equally enforced, no unfair bias exists.

    Instead of debating and complaining, why not actually try to find the truth of the situation? Better to know you are right and be able to do something constructive about it than to simply spur endless debate that leads nowhere.

  32. Bahnburner says:

    Stop manufacturing crises for faux outrage. kthxbye.

  33. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Lets be honest. Someone named Richard (Dick) Gaywood is pretty offensive. Whether or not they agree with her being a lesbian should not matter, why suspend the account? Its too political to mess with.

    • porcuPINE says:

      @The_Red_Monkey: i honestly dont believe that was his real name even though he had a pic of his ID (which could easily be faked/photoshopped). How can you not call BS on someones name when its Dick Gaywood? That is almost as absurd as Gaylord Focker. Not only that, who actually uses their real first and last name as their online handle? To me, it just doesn’t seem very plausible

      anyways…even though xbox live isnt the most appropriate venue to express ones sexuality, she still didnt deserve to have her account suspended. she only got suspended because some d-bags decided to harass and report her profile. had that not happened, i doubt microsoft would have done anything.

  34. Shaftoe says:

    I would guess that this is going to be very bad press for Xbox live. And as such it will force a resolution to the matter.
    Personally I am pretty angry at the XBL admin knee jerk reaction. We can only hope that this story gets Dug to the front page and it really raises a shit storm

  35. c_c says:

    Some states have anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation… seems that in principal, being suspended from a service because of your sexual orientation is no different that being refused a job or apartment for that reason.

  36. emona says:

    Tricky.

    On one hand, what do people expect? A girl I know posted a large McCain/Palin poster at a craft fair and was outraged when people mocked her. Hello: it’s a political poster at a craft fair. Why would you do that? The point was to draw attention.

    I’m not saying the OP did this to get attention. Sexual orientation is a very personal thing, like politics, that not everyone agrees with. I think she has every right to put it in her profile. However… what do you expect? If I wrote ‘God hates gays’ they’d remove it. OP might even agree with it being removed, since it’s offensive to her lifestyle.

    Can’t please everyone. That’s the problem with free speech.

    • Vanilla5 says:

      @emona: Well if guys are professing their love of “hot girls” on their profiles or even mentioning that they’re straight, I find that to be a severe double standard.

      The problem is that people still can’t get over themselves and get out of other peoples’ business and bedrooms.

      Why do people care who I’m attracted to? Don’t they have something better to do with their lives? Like buy their kids subscriptions to services that allow them to play super-violent video games? Priorities and protectionism gone awry.

  37. battra92 says:

    Personally, this is one reason I like the whole anonymity of internet gaming. I just want to beat you in the game, not know your life story.

  38. Claytons says:

    I grew up around god-fearing, bible thumping southerners, and surprisingly enough, XBOX live is still the most homophoic community I’ve witnessed in my life.

  39. mac-phisto says:

    i know this isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but i agree with xbox’s decision. the user is not being discriminated against for her orientation – she was banned b/c she violated a section of their code of conduct:

    [www.xbox.com]

    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 [emphasis mine], hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.

    & yes, on any given day, you will find a profile that violates every one of those restrictions. it seems enforcement is almost entirely reliant on complaints by other users – if you want to discuss the fairness of that, let’s do it. but unfortunately, teresa, you agreed to abide by these terms when you signed up & you didn’t. sorry.

    • porcuPINE says:

      @mac-phisto: the unfairness comes with the inconsistency in the application of their own policy. i cannot tell you how many sexually suggestive, crude, potenially offensive, etc. gamertags i have come seen. (personally i dont really care…) If you are going to cite their terms of service, then shouldnt they be swinging the ban hammer a lot more?

      • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

        @22pine22: Or rather, shouldn’t people be reporting these offensive comments more?
        I know I’m guilty of it too. I’m so hardened by XBL verbal diarrhea that I never think to report anything offensive. However, XBL can’t police everything all the time. A substantial amount of the banninations, I’d figure, stem from reports from users.

        What we also don’t know is how graphically the user stated her orientation. “I’m a 24 year old gay woman who loves to knit and play Parcheesi” is substantially different from “I’m a 24 year old lesbian who loooooves to lick”…well…you know.

    • PillowTalk says:

      @mac-phisto:

      Except that it’s not in her gamertag or motto, which is what the rule you posted applies to – it’s in her profile.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @22pine22: i agree – it does seem very arbitrary. i would like to see them give teresa the opportunity to reinstate her account by removing the offending material – it doesn’t appear as if this is a malicious or intentional abuse of the code.

        @JumpingJehosaphat: i think we’re splitting hairs here, aren’t we? i’m sure the bio/profile falls under the code of conduct as well.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @JumpingJehosaphat: looks like the updated terms of use contain verbiage concerning the profile:

        [www.xbox.com]

        You agree that we may also discontinue your access to the Service if you do any of the following while connected to the Service:
        [...]
        Create a Gamertag, avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to 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;

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @mac-phisto: My motto of “Hatred and Bacon” was reported for being offensive. I lawled.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      @mac-phisto: Apparently bodily functions are okay though, as evidenced by the gamer tag a buddy of mine came across recently: p3wpph4rt

      I admit, it made me lol.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @mac-phisto: So then, should they not also remove all the people who run around calling everyone faggots or jews, not to mention heterosexual inclined gamertags such as previously mentioned “LadiesMan” or something like “BigMan”.

      They can’t pick and choose the application to a lesbian or to someone identifying themselves as homosexual, if they do not also apply the same standards to religious and heterosexual slurs.

    • Repique says:

      @mac-phisto: While the phrase may contain the word “sexual”, sexual orientation is not sexual in nature, because it’s not actually about who you sleep with. By the same token, you could say that you shouldn’t be allowed to call yourself “man” or “woman” because it implies sex. Or maybe you shouldn’t be able to say anything because existing implies that someone had sex to create you.

      She hasn’t said anything about her sex life. She might not even have a sex life. You don’t have to have prior or current experience to be a lesbian, the same way you don’t have to have prior or current experience to be straight.

      By definition of human reproduction, *every* topic can eventually be traced back to somebody’s sex life, but “content of a sexual nature” is not generally understood to include things which are not overtly sexual.

    • Claytons says:

      @mac-phisto: I distinctly remember playing against a “PigOleBenis” and a “poopstorm69″ on Xbox live. They were probably never reported because the dudebro-centric Xbox community eats that juvenile crap up, along with homophobia and racism.

      Xbox has no legal responsibility to police equally across the lines of sexual identity and preference, but they do have somewhat of a moral responsibility to go beyond policing gay rule-breakers disproportionately. Perhaps a change in their rules or policing policies is the fix because at this point, a discriminatory and bigoted user-base is equaling a discriminatory and bigoted rule policing strategy.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Claytons: yes, i agree – there should be some sort of “content advisor” that reviews offending material as a whole – i don’t think solely relying on abuse reports or a phrase sniffers is sufficient enough. as you say, it becomes a “tyranny of the masses” problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      @mac-phisto: The problem with having a code of conduct based on content “that other users may be offended by”, is that it is so vague that I could easily shut down the whole of XBox Live (if they’re really not just siding with the homophobes, but standing rigidly by their stated terms). All it should take is to point out my belief that your choice of operating system is akin to a religious allegiance. Thus my finding Microsoft as a whole particularly offensive means that all users (or as I call them ‘believers in a false prophet’) of a Microsoft product or service posting content based on that offensive foundation are offending me by proxy through the inherited offence.

      Now this offensive behaviour is not strictly religious in tone either. I find that Microsoft, by having the word ‘soft’ in their name, suggest flacidity or a lack of male sexual prowess – obviously very offensive to some people. And couple this with the fact that Xbox Live alliterates well with Sex Slave, and you’ve got a rock solid case of offensive material to base your complaint on.

      I say shut down the whole service now. Won’t somebody please just think of the children? ;P

    • Dyscord says:

      @mac-phisto: But saying you’re a lesbian isn’t “of a sexual nature.”

      If you go on and describe a sexual act or something, then that would apply.

      Especially since you can put that you’re straight and not suffer any consequences.

  40. msthe8r says:

    If I have an online profile, and identify myself as “married” and give my location as any state where gay marriage is illegal, I have announced my heterosexuality.

    That’s okay, right? But a lesbian is “offending” by announcing her orientation.

    Last I checked, Washington state anti-discrimination laws covered sexual orientation. Microsoft, being headquartered in Washington, is subject to those laws, yes? Denial of service is, in fact, discrimination.

    And as far as explaining it to the children, it isn’t that hard. I’ve done it. I explained it to my now sixteen-year-old when he was five. He asked why two close friends (a gay man and a straight woman) weren’t married. I told him. I didn’t need to explain how the plumbing issues worked, any more than I needed to explain what his father and I did in bed.

    And when my current five-year-old asks why his little buddy has two mommies, I’m going to tell him, too.

    • jusooho says:

      @msthe8r: It does not seem they are denying her service, tho.

    • Eryk says:

      @msthe8r: And that’s your choice for explaining to your kids, and God bless you for it. Not all of us want that for our children, until they are old enough to understand complex issues – the same reason I won’t be talking to my daughter about abortion at the age of five, or conservative vs. liberal. Some of us feel that bringing this on our kids steals some of their innocence, and doesn’t let them have fun being ignorant for a while, until the real world approaches them whether they are ready or not. At that age, I’ll happily explain it to them.

      Regarding your anti-discrimination laws, unfortunately Microsoft did not deny her service when she signed up. She did not follow the TOS (terms of service), and was dropped as a result. Whether Microsoft are aholes for having that in their TOS is a good, healthy, worthwhile debate. That is where the focus should be.

      • 716 says:

        @Eryk: Dude, being a parent is ALL ABOUT having to explain uncomfortable situations to your children. At some point you’re going to have to tell your three-year-old to NOT run around naked in your neighbor’s front yard, or to not stick their toys down their pants, or to not walk around saying “penis penis penis”, and their response is going to be, “Why?”

        Good luck!

        • Eryk says:

          @716: Heh, I guess I’ll just take the “why is running around naked bad” conversation alot easier than I would an explanation behind the sexuality between adults. I suppose I’m just old fashioned.

      • Dyscord says:

        @Eryk: Here’s the thing. If someone put “I’m straight” in their profile, there’s nothing wrong with that. She put “I’m lesbian” in her profile and got banned for it.

        That’s pretty much the definition of discrimination. I can bet you anything in the world that if she were to bring that up to MS, they would say something like “Oh, that’s not offensive.” For all intents and purposes, she was banned for saying she was a lesbian

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @msthe8r: Kudos to you.

      • msthe8r says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese:
        Thank you. I think it made his life easier, because I had taught him that hate was wrong, and he’s had to deal with any number of situations where his peer group tells him that hate is acceptable. He knows how to stand up for what he believes. I am very proud that if nothing else, my son is a good person.

        So is my 27-year-old stepdaughter. I have a wide range of personal child-rearing experience. :)

        @Eryk:
        Of course we want to protect our children’s innocence. Good on you for doing the very best you can by your daughter. My son ASKED me. It was clear to him that these two people loved each other, and to him love=marriage. It was a time to explain to him that there are different kinds of love. I absolutely didn’t discuss sexual plumbing. If I had evaded the question, I would have taught him that “Uncle H” was in some way unacceptable.

        And the five year old DOES have a buddy with two mommies, as well as another one who seems to come from some kind of polyamorous arrangement. He will be confronted with this reality sometime very soon, and I firmly believe that even a childish understanding will help him process how these boys fit into his world. And I will NOT allow him to be cruel to these children because they come from “non-normal” families. In my part of the country, gays live entirely openly, discrimination is frowned upon, and gay rights (indeed all human rights) are vociferously protected, and yet I STILL have to teach him about hate. At five. If this is a lesson that you do not yet have to teach your daughter, I envy you the reprieve. If your daughter and my son played together, I doubt that you would notice that he was somehow “less innocent” than she is.

        And again, declaring myself married is the same as declaring myself heterosexual, at least in most parts of this country. Her declaring as a lesbian is no different. Microsoft’s TOS are similar to an anti-Semitic place of business letting me in, finding out my last name ends in “man” and throwing me out. By that business’s TOS, I’m allowed in as long as I keep my last name a secret? She wasn’t supposed to indicate her lesbianism? Does that mean that I’m not supposed to indicate that I’m married to a man? My relationship is valid, but hers gives offense? There are any number of people out there offended by others that are different from them, either by choice (religion, political party) or not (race, sexual orientation). We’re all supposed to avoid identifying ourselves publicly as any of these things because we might offend by being them?

        Speaking of which, perhaps it’s the experience I’ve had being perceived as a lesbian (stereotype: flannel shirt, workboots, covered in sawdust – I love building sets!) a Jew (non-Jewish last name ending in “man”) and a “teenage welfare mother” (a baby-faced adult with a giant pregnant belly and hands too swollen to wear my ring) that have shaped my world-view. You see, I’ve HEARD what people say to “others.” And since this was generally IRL, I’ve felt the sense of threat that people who are different from me feel.

  41. Anonymous says:

    mac-phisto, you raise a good point with Xbox’s user agreement. However, I would say that a good argument could be raised that Xbox’s perceived intent with that is to prohibit *sexual behavior*, which is completely different from sexual identity.

    I agree with others though about worse offenders being online. I had the privilege of playing against Xxl33t6969xX the other day; hell, that’s more offensive to me than anyone being gay or lesbian.

  42. heltoupee says:

    Ha!! Richard Gaywood. Most tragically funny name ever. Say it James Bond style: “The name’s Gaywood. Dick Gaywood.”

  43. Kensuke Nakamura says:

    Some asshole on the playstation network had the gamertag “D8R8PA”. I reported it to Sony but they never followed up with me and I’m not aware of anyway to check if that person still exists.

  44. axiomatic says:

    Speaking as an atheist, if I were to complain about someone being “christian” or “islamic” to XBOX Live they would laugh and totally ignore me even though I find organized religion abhorrent. So I have to agree with this girl. Stating you are a lesbian should not be that big a deal.

    Microsoft is wrong in this case.

    • Rhayader says:

      @axiomatic: I totally agree. Why is it okay to include references to one’s religion but not sexual orientation? I am offended by lies and oppression, just as some are offended by two dudes in bed together.

  45. GMFish says:

    Teresa says that she was… suspended from XBOX Live because she identified herself as a lesbian in her profile

    If a restaurant, movie theater, or hotel threw you out because you claimed to be a lesbian, you could easily sue and win for discrimination. I don’t know how Microsoft gets away with this. Eventually they will get their a$$ sued.

    • Patrick Hurst says:

      @GMFish: Sadly, this is only true in certain states, although Washington (where Microsoft is headquartered) is one of them.

    • metaled says:

      @GMFish:
      Isn’t XBOX LIVE like a private club, by using it, you agree to their rules and regulations.
      You host a party and someone comes to your house and says or does something you and your guests don’t like, you ask them to quit. they do it twice as much, you through them out. Legal and right? YES. They have rules posted and they have the right to enforce them.
      You don’t like their rules, you have every right to go to a different “party”.
      If they tell her to leave because she is gay, that’s wrong. If she is suspended because she won’t follow the rules, and continues to violate the “dress code” by advertising it on a shirt in their facility, they are within their rights. There is a time and a place.

    • billy says:

      @GMFish: Unfortunately I have to disagree that if this was a restaurant, movie theater, or hotel you would win. As others have pointed out, sexual orientation is not a protected class everywhere (and certainly not a federally recognized class). Therefore, legally, there’s nothing wrong with sexual orientation discrimination.

      Moreover, only the government and public accommodations would need to follow that law. Xbox, unlike your examples, is probably not a public accommodation. Like others have said, it’s more akin to a private club which can do all the discriminating it wants.

      • trujunglist says:

        @rubinow:

        I don’t see how it’s any different from the other examples, it’s just a different media. They invite everyone by offering the Xbox and Xbox Live service to anyone that can pay for it. How is that different than a hotel that says “thou shalt not crap in the kitchen sink, check out time is 12″ etc. Those are the house rules, but you won’t find a hotel that says “check out time is 12, and if we find out you’re gay we’re going to throw you out and keep your money”

        • billy says:

          @trujunglist: You don’t see the difference, but courts do. It’s the difference between a private organization and one that definitely isn’t. The differences may be subtle for sure, but think of it this way: would the government be able to force the KKK to accept black people into their organization. The answer is “no”. The KKK is a private club and they can bring in or discriminate against whoever they want. Restaurants and hotels (at least normal ones) are not private. They accommodate the public and are required by law to not discriminate against certain types of people. Again, I don’t think that private, on-line clubs are considered public accommodations. I could be wrong.

          In any event, though, as I mentioned before, there really are no uniform rules about discrimination against sexual preference (as mentioned elsewhere on this board, some states have SOME laws, but they are limited). Homosexuals are not a protected class. This is the reason why so many states have had referendums about gay marriage: homosexuals (generally) do not have legal protection against those types of laws…so there’s nothing stopping the passage of those laws. So, in your hotel example, a homosexual who is discriminated against must point to the law which says that the hotel can’t do it. There really aren’t any. Of course, people who crap in the sink are causing a disturbance or damaging the property (or something) and those people aren’t protected against discrimination laws.

          To think of it in a different way: every law discriminates against someone or their actions. For example, traffic laws discriminate against that class of person who speeds. But speeders are not a protected class and those laws are OK on that basis. In the same way, homosexuals are not a protected class.

          And if the hotel throws you out and keeps the money, you’d probably have some other cause of action against the hotel.

  46. ortega602086 says:

    I dont think its Microsofts fault.
    Every time I go into an xbox live game and people hear me speaking spanish I receive a barrage of racial slurs and brain-damaged attitude.

    Should I blame Microsoft for that?

    • Ragman says:

      @ortega602086: But did MS suspended you for speaking Spanish?

    • Rhayader says:

      @ortega602086: I think you are misunderstanding the situation. She was not booted by other users who assaulted her for her lesbianism. She was booted by Microsoft, who caved in to reactionary complaints regarding a completely innocuous statement in her profile.

      • Eryk says:

        @Rhayader: But a statement that is against their Terms of Service – right or wrong as that may be. That is the point. She didn’t follow the rules. As a result, her account is gone.

        Now to say that the statement she made is innocuous, I think most fair minded people will agree that it is. It really is fairly harmless. My biggest concern would be children seeing the word and asking questions, but ultimately parents just have to watch out for that.

        What she did, was against the rules – period.

        Whether those rules suck or not, is a good debate.

        • Rhayader says:

          @Eryk: But those rules aren’t evenly enforced. As others have pointed out, gamertags advertising heterosexual prowess are common and never questioned.

          I think ultimately it boils down the all-too-common practice of considering homosexuals to be somehow more sexually motivated than “normal” people. A lesbian is not necessarily a nymphomaniac, and expressing one’s sexual orientation is not a sexually overt declaration.

          Also, by the way, what specific rule was violated?

        • kexline says:

          @Eryk: Online gaming is an ugly, ugly place. “Lesbian” is a great deal easier to explain to a child than lots of other words you might encounter in gamertags and chat — and the word was in the OP’s profile, where you would have had to look for it.

          Let’s set aside the TOS and parenting for a minute, and just think about actual kids. If you get cornered into explaining gaiety to a five-year-old who doesn’t know any homosexual couples personally, the new information will roll right off the kid’s psyche. He simply won’t believe you, at such a fundamental level that he can’t even keep track of what it is he doesn’t believe you’ve told him.

          Whereas if you have to explain something scatological or horrific — much more common in online gaming — it will stick. Hard. Do you really think there _isn’t_ someone running around, with Microsoft’s implied blessing, under the gamertag “cl3v314nd_st33m3r”?

          Even if you believe that the user violated the TOS and Microsoft’s actions were justified within that framework, this story still represents an opportunity to consider whether the TOS is any damn good. As written and applied, does it protect Microsoft, its content providers, and its subscribers? It looks to me like it’s opening at least as many avenues for legal action as it closes, and it isn’t protecting subscribers from ickiness. Heck, after reading this discussion, *I’m* afraid to look at the public lobbies, and I’m a 32-year-old veteran of various profanity-laced industries living in a major metro.

  47. Wis Tungsten says:

    Do I have to be the first to suggest to sue them for discrimination based on sexual orientation under the laws of the State of Washington? It’s no federal law, but you can probably sue under the laws of the state in which you’re living or in which they’re headquartered.

    • billy says:

      @Wis Tungsten: Is Xbox/Microsoft providing a public accommodation? [www.hum.wa.gov]

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @Wis Tungsten:

      One question that keeps going through my head and one that I don’t know the answer to is whether or not the legal entity that controls XBox Live is headquartered in a state that provides for homosexuality as a “protected status.” While Microsoft is (Washington apparently is), who’s to say that Xbox isn’t set up somewhere else?

      Of course that would suggest that there was some kind of sinister plot going on to purposefully discriminate against gays. I’m not so sure that’s the case, though.

      Cheers!

  48. diasdiem says:

    Write to every glbt activist organization you can about this and let them harrass Microsoft. That’ll probably help.

    Personally I don’t see why homophobes would have a problem with people identifying themselves as gay. You’d think they’d probably jump at the chance to pretend to kill gay people in a video game.

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @diasdiem:

      I think that the question there depends on your definition of “homophobia.” If you are referring to the irrational, violence-inducing variety that seems (in my experience at least, though I’m not gay) to be pretty rare, then yes, you are right, that makes no sense. However, if you are talking about the “casual” homophobia (opposition to what certain activists want to institute for example), then I don’t think that there is a correlation, as the second seems to be a political weapon to silence the opposition. Just a thought.

      Cheers!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Teresa, I wonder if you could sue. I’ve been considering getting an X-BOX and using live, but the way you’ve been treated is horrible. And I’m rethinking buying it now. This is outrageous behavior and should not be condomed.

  50. dgm6780 says:

    This has nothing to do with gaming. Why does she feel the need advertise her sexual preference? Should I be able to put my sexual preference on there too? Even if I my preference is for goats and bannanas?

    Point is that it doesnt belong there. Get a grip, you dont get special rights just because you like girls.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I guess the question is why should anyone’s sexual orientation, gay or straight, be a part of their gaming profile? The test would be of course if someone identified themselves as a heterosexual in their profile would MS ban them too?
    I’m all for gay rights but that doesn’t mean people should be telling other people who they like to have sex with in casual environments does it?

  52. hegemonyhog says:

    @Eryk: If you can’t figure out something about Catholics, African Americans and/or Iranians that’s been hotly debated in the past three years in our society, you fail at culture.

    Your comment is brutally ignorant, but at least it’s brutally ignorant in a benignly happy way.

    • Eryk says:

      @hegemonyhog: I simply have a different viewpoint than you. Ignorance can also be found in believing that no other viewpoint than yours can possibly be right.

      While certainly those three topics all have their touchy points, I’ll take my chances with any of them above explaining to a young kid about sexuality.

      • hegemonyhog says:

        @Eryk: Ignorance can also be found in batting down a strawman, or hiding behind a false equivalence of arguments.

        You being wrong doesn’t make the other person intolerant of other viewpoints. It makes you wrong.

  53. Rhayader says:

    Hey is there a way we can contact MS and tell them how much they suck for this?

  54. RichardGaywood says:

    I pointed out this was ridiculous back when Microsoft banned my tag. We created a new tag, something rude enough in Welsh to make a sailor blush, played online, and reported it; but the report was never upheld. Presumably Microsoft’s enforcement team don’t speak Welsh, but that just shows, how can they police the world from Seattle?

  55. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Being a gaymer myself (on PSN as FuryOfFirestorm – I play GTA IV and RockBand), I have yet to be harassed. Then again, I don’t use a headset/microphone, so I can’t hear if some asshole is saying shit about me, either…

    • Rhayader says:

      @FuryOfFirestorm: Well also, unless there is something in your PSN profile (if that even exists) identifying you as gay, they would have no way of knowing.

      Of course, having played plenty of Halo, I’m guessing gay jokes were sent your way just as they are sent my way.

      Finally, and most importantly, PlayStation blows my heterosexual dick.

    • trujunglist says:

      @FuryOfFirestorm:

      If you’re playing GTA IV I can guarantee someone somewhere at some point has called you a faggot, not to mention a variety of other colorful names. I just guarantee faggot because a lot of ignorant little kids/adults seem to think that is the most offensive insult ever created.

  56. Anonymous says:

    So then as soon as Microsoft PR sees this, they’re going to apologize, saying that “We here at Microsoft respect everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.”

    What a crock.

    Here’s the truth: “We here at Microsoft are simple-minded yes men for all the insensitive prudes on xBox Live.”

  57. Danj3ris says:

    This scenario is similar to another one that sister-site Kotaku followed last year. Of course in that case the word “GAY” was in the gamertag.

    Have a look if you’re interested: [kotaku.com]

    I personally find it ridiculous that XBOX live players have to jump on the hate bandwagon over a sentence in someone’s gamer profile (not even in their gamertag) that explains something about themselves, which somehow offends someone else.

    It bothers me that these complainers are offended by someone’s existence. They should be banned for going out of their way to ruin someone’s gaming experience.

    Unfortunately the path of least resistance for the XBOX live team is to ban one person to please many, instead of banning a bunch to please one.

  58. metaled says:

    Is it right to identify your sexuality on XBOX? it’s a place to play, not to pick up on people. What if some bizarre/gross sexual fetishes started identifying themselves, I mean really weird crap. It’s just not the place for sexual preferences, it’s a game room.
    It’s NOT a discrimination thing when they try to make it an enjoyable place for all. They don’t want the name, it doesn’t matter what you do (ie sex, race, religion). As far as I know, they don’t lock you out for a name, repeated use of banned words would suspend you. If they sent you a warning and you did it again, they have every right. A good rule of thumb, if your state won’t allow it on a car license plate, don’t use it.
    Is it right for teens/kids. Well, they limit it as all heck for my son, no text chat (still verbal talk in the games…hmmm), can’t download any any “R” games/material. He’s 17 and I would allow it. BTW, it’s a game system, games are for kids, should they ban older people? why do you have the right to it and my son doesn’t? You are as guilty as the people that chased you out….Quit discriminating. Come on, I see their point. There is a place and time for sex, race, politics, religion and XBOX Live is NOT it.
    Get over it, Change the name to something FUN and PLAY! Don’t advertise. My son and I will play the games with anyone.

    • David Mcleod says:

      @metaled: One thing I don’t get: you acknowledge that there are games that are “R” rated, and not for kids. Then you turn around and say that games are for kids. Which is it?

      I still think there is a difference between sexual identity, and sexual activity. Why is it that XBox is discriminating against those in the minority of sexual identity (such as this woman who identifies as a lesbian in her profile), and not banning people who proclaim their sexual activities in their profile name (i.e. Xxl33t6969xX)? What about the drug references they let slide? There’s a whole clan of players on Call of Duty that identify as “420″.

      No, I’m sorry… it’s obvious that they’re only picking on gay people because other people don’t approve of them. That’s a business decision that I hope comes back to bite them in the ass.

    • Rhayader says:

      @metaled: David Mcleod hit the nail on the head: sexual identity and sexual gratuitousness are two completely different things. Being gay doesn’t make you a pervert any more than being straight does.

  59. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    I should go on XBL as DickVanDyke just to see what happens…

  60. DustoMan says:

    Frankly, saying you’re a lesbian in your profile is just asking for trouble. You’re totally underestimating the maturity of most of the XBL user base. She should have made her profile “friends only”.

  61. zoompooky says:

    Not that I agree with others’ intolerance, but:

    Perhaps the best thing for her to do would be to make use of Xbox Live’s privacy settings.

    If she would like to put her sexual orientation in her profile, she can do so and them limit access to her profile to only those on her friends list.

    In addition she can easily block communications, control display of her online status, and the other things that she indicated were being used to harass her. Xbox Live has a very robust privacy featureset and she would be much happier if she made use of it.

  62. Pandrogas says:

    The Microsoft legal department is scared ****less of offending most groups of people. This is mostly due to covering their ass legaly as most people are pretty litigation happy when it comes to Microsoft, but some of it can get pretty ridiculous.

  63. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    okay, so here’s the litmus test. Is it discrimination? Let’s find out.

    Put on your profile that you are STRAIGHT / Heterosexual.

    If they ban you for disclosing that, then the policy is non-discriminatory.

    If they DON’T mind you saying you’re hetero, then they have a discrimination issue on their hands.

    • Razorgirl says:

      @Dooley:

      Nice to see that I’m not the only person who thinks a test is in order. Honestly if my Live account was active at the moment I would be doing this myself.

    • Danj3ris says:

      @Dooley: This test is missing something. Your gamertag/profile has to be offending people in order for them to alert XBOX live to it.

      Just disclosing certain information in your profile may be against the Terms Of Service, but I doubt anything will happen to you unless some other members of XBOX live make a big stink over it first.

      This test has to be expanded. You need a number of other gamers to start harassing and complaining about the one that discloses being a heterosexual. See who gets banned first.

  64. kolacek says:

    WTF is their problem exactly?

    Lesbians? On X-Box?

    Huh? Three seconds into this subject and I’m already thinking of how to make that into a movie.

    Homos playing X-Box Live is usually called “Tuesday” in my world. Besides – gaming leads to awesome sex later if you’re not a total dummy.

    Bunch of dicks.

  65. SonicMan says:

    You are all missing something about Microsoft Lilve Service.

    You can use the tag “John Smith”

    Then when enough people report that it is offencive, you will have to change it.

    But if you use the name “Super Lesbian” and nobody reports it, MS does not care.

    I get requests all the time from people who just want to change there name on live for Free, So they ask people to report it to MS. That way they do not have to pay the 800 points to change there name.

  66. Dracoster says:

    Sue.

  67. tc4b says:

    @Eryk: “I’ll take my chances with any of them above explaining to a young kid about sexuality.”

    Great, they’ll get all the good info on the school bus or at camp. Best to leave their education up to the experts.

  68. Steve Walker says:

    Why would you put that in your profile anyway? This isn’t E-Harmony! My profile doesn’t highlight that I’m straight, or that I love walks on the beaches and the Notebook (i said straight right?). Stop trying to look for lesbo love on your game console and it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s Xbox live, you’re on there to talk sh*t and p0wn n00bs. Who cares about which side of the plate you swing from, as long as you don’t suck at the game your playing?

    My whole point is, no one online cares who your banging. Most people on there can’t get laid anyway. WHy put it in there?

    • Rhayader says:

      @Steve Walker: I mean, that’s a fair question. Still though, why get all bent out of shape if someone does want to put it in there? Why kick them off XBL for deciding to do that?

      Also, self-identifying as homosexual (or heterosexual) isn’t about telling people “who you’re banging”.

      • Justifan says:

        @Rhayader:

        maybe i should put that i should advertise that i like double penetration in my profile as well since why not eh?

        • Rhayader says:

          @Justifan: Again: sexual orientation is not sexually overt. Talking about being gay is not the same as talking about anal sex. I’m sorry, but they are two different things.

          Just because I say I am straight doesn’t mean I am forcing people to talk about sexual activity.

  69. Ratty says:

    It was a ban because people reported it. Some people found it offensive and said as such to Microsoft in volume enough for the service to take action.

    Not because Microsoft hates gays.

    Not because Microsoft condones other things people consider morally offensive.

    If you want equality, mark/flag the shit out of any profile making any reference to anything possibly construed as offensive and get your friends on the service to do the same. They don’t just delete accounts without people reporting them. So level the playing field. Report HEAVILY. And this may just get them to re-think policy on names/profiles.

    In the mean time, make sure to utilize privacy settings and get pissed off at the people who reported “lesbian” as offensive. Don’t go to town chicken little style “Microsoft hates all gays!”

    • Rhayader says:

      @Ratty: Fair point. However, one person earlier in the thread said he did exactly that with an experimental gametag: put possibly offensive material in the name/profile, and then reported it. Nothing happened.

      But yeah, I hate the douchebags who would report this a lot more than I hate Microsoft for responding to the complaints.

      • Ratty says:

        @Rhayader: It takes more than one report to take down a profile in general, but the offensive names and accounts do wind up removed with enough outcry. It also takes more time than this thread has been up. If they wanted to make the point better they could link to the gamertag and profile and ask all 360 users to mark it to see what of it.

        What I wonder is what the user did to get enough people to visit her profile in order to mark her. The only times I check out gaming profiles are to add people as friends (wouldn’t be offensive) or to take note of douchebags to avoid for future gaming sessions. Team killers, motor mouths, 12 year olds, whatever. That’s me, and I’m sure that approach isn’t far off for most. People in general don’t look you up unless you’ve provoked a reaction. and geenerally if it’s a positive one you won’t have people take it out on you.

        The outcry here is still misdirected regardless of any reasoning.

        What I’d love is to be able to ban people who shout out those words as insults all the time.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @Ratty: Eh, I’ve played against too many sore losers on Live to dismiss the possibility outright that this may have been organized harassment. Maybe she rebuffed some horny teenager’s advances and proceeded to beat them, and they couldn’t handle it so they got together with some friends and mass reported her. Who knows? And that’s the thing. The system is so open for abuse that simply assuming that it legitimately offended anyone isn’t quite fair.

          For example, let’s say that I create a profile and put in there that I love some random animal. Let’s say a pig for hilarity’s sake. So my profile says “I love pigs”. Now I didn’t mean that in the biblical sense, but because I appreciate them as animals. So what’s to stop some retard from latching onto that and reporting it as offensive if I’ve beat him too badly, and he’s got a big enough friends list to make it stick? Not a thing. And apparently Microsoft’s methodology doesn’t require them to contact the accused to give them the opportunity to defend themselves, so all I have to do is cross the wrong person and have something that appears ambiguous enough in my profile, and I could be banned.

          Seems to me that Microsoft ought to reevaluate it’s moderation process.

  70. Anonymous says:

    If there was a critical mass of XBL users putting our gamertags where our mouths are, we could potentially agree change our profiles to something “offensive” as a gesture of support – e.g., “GLBT rights now” (though the 16-character limit on mottos makes more eloquent statements tricky to pull off).

  71. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Lesbians? In my XBOX? Next you’ll say there’s centipedes in vaginas!

  72. CharlieInSeattle says:

    My suggestion to gay people is to boycott all things microsoft.

  73. Anonymous says:

    The problem as I see it is how does MS determine who is legitimately homosexual and who isn’t. If a straight person put this in their profile as a joke, that could be construed as homophobic. Now I don’t think lesbians are wrong or that it’s a dirty word, but let me give another scenario. If an white person used the N word in their profile it would be pretty racist, if an african american did I do not think it would be so racist. But how does MS figure out who can and who cannot place the N word in their profile? Realistically they cannot do this so they just ban it all together.

  74. baristabrawl says:

    I was once told by a high school classmate that I was, “as queer as a $2 bill.” I didn’t know if I was supposed to be offended or correct him.

    Sticks and stones, people. Sticks and stones.

  75. justsomeotherguy says:

    Just play Left4Dead… We love lesbians.

  76. Anonymous says:

    I would question the nature of this article and see if I could get confirmation next time before I published it. In World of Warcraft certain gamers have created sexual harrasement and gender bias where there is none, just to further the cause of their orientation. The GLBT groups on the Proudmoore server are well known for embellishing facts, starting fights, and claiming bigotry and bias simply because they favor the attention and believe that any publicity to their cause is good publicity.

    Please vet before you “set.”
    Thank you.

  77. Anonymous says:

    This is why I have decided to stay as far away from xbox and microsoft as possible. I have not had any luck in dealing with them and they have been completely unable to help me with my problem and only want your money. That is why I got a PS3 and don’t have to pay every month in order to play online and deal with as many annoying 12 year olds. Mircrosoft and xbox need to realize this is not helping them win the console war and things like this will drive away their customers.

  78. Matthew Gay says:

    I’m guessing that I wouldn’t be allowed to use my real name either then, huh?

  79. Anonymous says:

    i dont see the problem with her saying she is a lesbian in her profile. do people get banned from facebook or any other site like that where kids are ALL OVER THEM! what about the other gamers who were following her around each game calling her gay and harrasing her with homophobic comments. if the word lesbian is offense in print then what the hell about all the gay and lesbian comments spoken to her!

  80. rickatnight11 says:

    Isn’t that why we should let our children play on Xbox Live? To learn to kill the homosexuals? Seriously, this is ridiculous and Microsoft should be ashamed. (For anyone who didn’t get the sarcasm…tough.)

  81. iamjames says:

    why would someone feel compelled to expose themselves as gay or lesbian on a online gaming service?

    If someone put in their profile “I’m gay!” I would seriously question their motives for doing so. Are they there to play games or meet other homosexuals? If they’re there to play games, then they don’t need to put their orientation in their profile. However, if they’re trying to meet people then they would need their orientation in the profile, and if they’re trying to turn XBOX Live into a dating service I can see why Microsoft would feel compelled to remove the person.

    I think Microsoft is right in this case. There is no need for anyone to disclose their sexual orientation on XBOX Live.

  82. Anonymous says:

    In Canada this would be a clear violation of the human rights code which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I’m tempted to buy an xbox and join live just so I can take them to court!.

  83. chadgottfried says:

    Exactly why I hate 90% of Live’s community. I will not play with anyone outside of my friend’s list due to this kind of crap. Most of the homophobia and racist sludge is 13 year old boys trapped in 20 year old’s bodies.

    I don’t care what you do in real life or the bedroom, tell me, don’t tell me, doesn’t affect my gameplay…

  84. Sean Brophy says:

    I’m not sure about the US, but if someone took this to the Canadian human rights commission, Micro$oft would surely be forced to change their policy.

  85. MrEvil says:

    I’m a straight man, one of the few aparrently that have no problems with Gay people.

    If I can put “BEWBS OR GTFO!” in as my motto on XBL (it isn’t for the record) and not get any sort of disciplinary action then someone that mentions they are a lesbian or a gay man shouldn’t either. I’m throwing it in gay people’s face that I’m a heterosexual. Hell, all of us heterosexual people throw it in gay people’s faces every day without even noticing.

    Maybe she put lesbian in her profile so she wouldn’t constantly get hit on by every player with a penis. She might find straight men hitting on her as offensive as much as a heterosexual man would be if a gay man started hitting on him.

  86. スッパー!monkey! says:

    wait what? ppl dont like lesbians? damn man i love lesbians!

  87. trujunglist says:

    Xbox Live’s TOS is incredibly convoluted in my opinion. It basically states that if you offend anyone, anywhere, at anytime, you’re likely to be banned if you’re reported. So, if you do anything, anything at all, you’re basically going to get reported and banned if the other person feels like it and Xbox live Admins agree. You’d better tip-toe around everyone unless you know them. I found this out after being warned by some Xbox Admin guy for cussing. ‘Fuck yeah we won you little bitches’ is not acceptable in a first-person war time combat game, even though a quick glance at the Code of Conduct does not specifically state that you are not allowed to cuss during chat, and many games actually cuss anyway. Supposedly, the games rating dictates your Code of Conduct. Where is that written in the policy? Nowhere. It’s kind of, no, exactly, like every regulatory agency in California!
    Anyway, my hatred for Xbox live (and California regulatory agencies) policies aside, I find that the complaint option can be useful, ESPECIALLY because Xbox live is so full of racists and homophobes. It works both ways; either you can get reported or you can take the initiative and report. Just the other night I had to lay the smack down on some racist idiots. I have no qualms about ToSing ( if you recognize that, you get a cookie!) sub-humans.
    I totally agree that there is a double standard for sexuality. Just look at all the 69s, pimps, playas, lady killas, yo mamas, and whatevers. However, the other night I did see a GT “OnlyGayEskimo”. I assume he just hasn’t been reported yet, or that since it is trying to make a joke at the expense of gay people (yes, I know it’s Tenacious D, but read the lyrics, it’s not pro-gay eskimo), that it’s all OK with Microsoft.
    Your kids do not belong on Xbox live, period. If you hate other people for any asinine reason, you do not belong on Xbox live, period. If you can’t handle playing games and treating them for what they are, games, then you do not belong on Xbox live, period.

  88. ObtuseGoose says:

    Microsoft is in the wrong. You don’t side with the homophobic teen punks and the “won’t someone think of the children” parents.

    Teresa should tell the harassers that guys that taunt gays are probably gay themselves. That should shut their pie hole.

  89. JoshRogan says:

    Washington’s human rights statute includes sexual orientation as a protected class. This law prohibits “the refusing or withholding from any person the admission, patronage, custom, presence, frequenting, dwelling, staying, or lodging in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement” based on sexual orientation, among other things.

    She should file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission alleging she has been discriminated against based on her sexual orientation, assuming that the XBL servers are in Washington.

    [www.hum.wa.gov]

  90. SillyinPhilly says:

    Can anyone say Linux? Microsoft can only get away with this because of the monopoly they have on operating systems.

  91. Upsilon says:

    Wait, THIS is what’s offensive to XBox live players? Seriously?
    Not, you know, the language, or the dipshits?

  92. evilhapposai says:

    Don’t ask, don’t tell. THE END.

    I am personally offended and disgusted when someone tells me exactly what gets their jolly’s off gay OR STRAIT. Keep it to yourself.

    • Rhayader says:

      @evilhapposai: Someone saying they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re telling you “exactly what gets their jolly’s off”. If I tell you I’m married in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage, you can assume I am straight. That doesn’t mean I’m talking to you about tying my wife to the bed or whatever.

      Sexual orientation is not sexually explicit. THE END.

  93. Anonymous says:

    I am not gay, but this seems like an interesting social experiment. In my profile I changed it to,

    “Interests include video games, skiing, reading, running, cars and conducting social experiements; also, I am gay.”

    How long do you think it will take me to get banned?

  94. LightningSt says:

    Isn’t this Sexual Harassment? I thought it was against the law. I know what I would do.

  95. Anonymous says:

    Xbox Live’s TOS does state you can not put sexual content in your profile.

    However, sexual orientation is not sexual content. It does not describe a sexual act. Only what gender you are attracted to. If you can pick whether you are a male of female in avatar creation, and as such create what ‘sex’ you are in your profile, I don’t see why mentioning what gender you are attracted to is offensive. If a girl put in ‘I like boys’ would that be offensive under the same policy?

  96. Wynner3 says:

    Their is nothing offensive about being a gay, lesbian, bi, etc… People need to open their eyes and realize that being born gay is not a bad thing. I know it’s because of the way they were raised and in some cases due to some religious influences but they need to snap out of it.

    • Rhayader says:

      @Wynner3: Yeah unfortunately people think that saying you’re gay is a statement of overt sexuality, while saying you’re straight is not. I can’t figure that out.

  97. boricuachick says:

    I’m a lesbian and it doesn’t surprise me that XBOX Live mirrors the real world where, sadly, there are alot of homophobic, prejudiced, and ignorant people as well. Maybe one day before I die there will be EQUAL rights for everyone. But I am not holding my breath.

  98. Anonymous says:

    All those gamers who think that this is a Bad Thing should put the “lesbian” tag in their profile, or append the word “-lesbian” to their name, whether they are lesbians or not. What’s MS gonna do then, shut down a million accounts?

  99. Anonymous says:

    If you had something graphic and/or descriptive in your profile then you deserved it, and shouldn’t be complaining, just make a new one.

    Plus its the internet what do you expect? and Microsoft didn’t personally get you they have bots that do this stuff automatically

  100. Anthony Neigh says:

    Since when was it okay to discriminate based on sexual orientation regardless of the media in which the discrimination takes place? If it happened on a bus, the bigot would have been asked to stfu or even kicked off the bus. Because it is a hatred found online, it’s fine?

    If Microsoft fired an employee just because they ‘advertised’ they were gay, Microsoft would be paying that ex-employee a ridiculous amount of money in court fees and damages. How is this all that different?

    • billy says:

      @Anthony Neigh:Sexual orientation is not a “protected class” in many jurisdictions (certainly not federally). This is the reason why there have been so many state referendums about gay marriage. [en.wikipedia.org]

      Even if sexual orientation was a protected class, it only applies to government action and public accommodation(and maybe a few other instances. Microsoft is in Washington where there ARE laws against workplace sexual orientation discrimination. Other states…?). Xbox probably doesn’t fit the public accommodation designation. A bus would. It’s a public accommodation. Any vocal bigot on a bus, though, would get kicked off for his disturbing actions, not the contents of his words. Of course it makes a huge difference if the bigot is the bus driver or just some yokel. Of course, there’s nothing illegal about being a bigot.

      I guess the bottom line is that all of these laws are very fact specific. You can’t just say that X looks like Y and therefore Z. Any good constitutional law book should explain this in more detail.

  101. David C. Cobb says:

    As a gay gamer, I agree with the other comments here. It’s not to protect kids, it’s to avoid inciting commentary.

    I’m about as out as you can get, but there’s no need to put “Gay” on my profile on XBox…. frankly, because it’s not worth hateful comments I’d get from homophobic players. I play with my gay friends online and we all know who each other are anyway.

    Micro$oft is probably just trying to keep their online community as peaceable as possible, given the demographic mix. Is that socially just? Probably not. But asking for an evolved attitude on XBox Live is sort of laughable. I for one don’t feel personally offended.

    Perhaps the people who are offended should log on sometime and play in the “Hardcore” zone, where misogyny, racism, sexism, and horrific smack-talk are pretty much de rigueur all the time.

    I’ll stay over in the “Recreation” zone and play with people I know, thanks.

  102. Anonymous says:

    What a disgrace. I’m a avid gamer and fan of xbox live. Vulgar and offensive speech is par for the course when dealing with some folks online. But this seems like a hate crime to me. Don’t want yer kids to see lesbian written somewhere in live? Guess what? They should not even be touching that box if they’re under 18. Why adults only? Because parents are lazy and want Mr. Gates to baby sit. Shame on MS for oppressing this human being! I say we all become lesbians in protest! Lets see how many MS can ban…

  103. Anonymous says:

    The fantasy world is a fantasy world. You can be gay straight, bisexual, trisexual, it doesn’t matter, but keep in mind that the fantasy world is the fantasy world. People enter it to escape from the banality of reality. Bringing the issues of reality into fantasy is ludicrous because it has it’s own set of issues built into it. While I think it is ludicrous to ban an account based on sexual orientation. I also think that sexual orientation and the issues surrounding it do not need to enter the fantasy world because it is just that…a fantasy world.

  104. accela says:

    I’ve seen plenty of profiles where a boy’s going “Girls, girls, girls!” /”I love girls~” in em.

    I don’t see the different between that and saying, “I’m straight!”

    You can bet the boy with “I love boys!” in his profile would have gotten the banhammer.

  105. mythago says:

    You know, I have kids, they play online, and I’m not OMFGTEHNOEZ! if they see the word ‘lesbian’. They know what ‘lesbian’ means. We have family friends who are lesbians. It’s not any more offensive or sex-related than somebody putting “Texan” in their gamertag.

  106. Anonymous says:

    You need to get the word out…I guess I know now since a friend told me, but it seems really that you need to make sure you put this in front of the right forums out there that all can read…maybe write to the gay magazines…OUT…The Advocate…
    I understand what you are writing, but would they have allowed you to reopen the same account if you removed the word “lesbian” from your profile. If so, then I can see how families can become offended for THEIR children (imagine your own if you had some) and that’s their right to feel that way…just like it’s yours to feel the way you do…our feellings are not wrong and we are allowed to feel how we do!
    But that said, being gay myself…gee…for many years now…maybe even since genetic conception…just get with the program and change the profile and enjoy XBOX Live.
    Oh…by the way…it’s not a hookup site…if you want to tell the world your a lesbian, then do it on another site where that’s all OK…hmmm.
    Have a great day!
    Opinion Number One Guy

  107. Ryan Martin says:

    Well, this was Dugg. Here comes the massive shitstorm and Fox News reports on how gays are overtaking Xbox Live and brainwashing your children.

  108. Anonymous says:

    literally just before coming to this site and reading this story I turned down an XBL friend request from a person I’ve never met whose profile stated “my wang is as hard as an artificial leg”. Seriously. He didn’t seem worried about being banned. Unfortunately, crap like that is not uncommon and I personally find it more offensive than someone plainly stating their preference. As for those who worried about children being exposed to sex and parents having to have “the talk” before they would like I would just like to say one thing; “teabagging”. I only play online with people I know for a reason.

  109. redwolf088 says:

    This crap is ridiculous. I once was playing Halo and this guy was saying stuff like “America deserved what happened on 9-11.” In his profile he had “Death to America” as his main quote. I complained to Xbox and I found out that the guy is still online playing. How can they kick someone off for their sexual orientation and yet allow someone to say these kinds of things about a country where patriotism is a big thing and I know several people who have family members that died that day. Needless to say I am actually considering selling my Xbox 360 to get a PS3.

  110. Cyfun says:

    I find it offensive that Microsoft lets girls play on Xbox live at all. I mean, what are girls doing playing on Xbox when they should be in the kitchen, making pie?

    Microsoft does require you to pick a gender for your profile. Maybe she should have chosen male to imply that she likes tacos better than hot dogs.

    I also think any XBL avatars depicting females with short hair and wearing flannel should be banned, because no straight women would dress like that.

  111. gameboyhippo says:

    Guess what. I can’t use the word Bible in my description. Does that make Microsoft Anti Christian? I also cannot use the word Linux in my description. Does that make Microsoft Anti Linux? So I can’t describe myself as a Linux using Christian. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to talk about what kinds of games I like to play in my profile.

  112. Anonymous says:

    it’s scary to what end people will do to ignore or simply put be total jerks to others in the gay/lesbian commmunity. Weither you like it or agree to their lifestyle is… well frankly none of anybody’s business and kicking someone of a network for their sexual orientation is discracefull and idiotic. I hope anybody who’s had issues of this kind have or will be helped or compensated somehow for this moronic and backward behavior and to microsoft you should definitely be ashamed of yourself… and this time not for windows

  113. Jeff Saltis says:

    wouldn’t it be easier if you just didn’t mention it? why do you have to anyways, its not like it matters on Xbox live, unless you plan on picking up girls, where also in this case i wouldn’t suggest doing it on Xbox live

  114. SidoniaKeppanin says:

    Instead of spouting my opinion, I’m going to quote the relevant Washington State legislation (HB 2661, passed in 2006):

    Sec. 3. RCW 49.60.030 and 1997 c 271 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
    (1) The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disabled person is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. This right shall include, but not be limited to:
    [snip]
    (b) The right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement;
    [snip]
    Any person deeming himself or herself injured by any act in violation of this chapter shall have a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin further violations, or to recover the actual damages sustained by the person, or both, together with the cost of suit including reasonable attorneys’ fees…

  115. justhesh says:

    Microsoft continues to appease bigotry.

  116. Garetjaxx3307 says:

    Here you guys go, straight from XBOX Live Terms of Use:

    You may not create a Gamertag , avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to 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;

    This girl was 100% wrong in doing what she did, it is a direct violation of their ToU and Microsoft had every right to suspend her account. She agreed to their ToU when she logged on to Microsoft’s service, and if she didn’t intend to follow her end of the contract then she had no business being there. Microsoft isn’t “bashing gays” or whatever sensationalist bullshit you guys are talking about. They are removing the gamers who intentionally disregard the contract they agreed to and the players intent on abusing the system.

  117. CmdX says:

    I could see the problem with putting ‘gay’ in the gamertag, not because it offends people but rather because it invites people to harass the user… people are stupid and I hate it when people call other people ‘gay’ and use it in a demaning form, but why not be proactive and just remove the word from being used

    And why even have a ‘lesbian’ option? make it ‘other’ or something ambiguous like that… or just remove it… it isn’t relevant to anything in the games and if other immmature gamers feel like exploting it for humor or similar it isn’t worth messing with the game experience…

    The fact you can choose that invites a lot of people to choose that option as a joke and not for legitimate reasons, which isn’t worth the moderation time IMO

  118. XBL: Legend xKWx (Kyle) says:

    honestly Microsoft can do whatever they want with xbox live users, it’s their community and you do agree to their terms of service when you sign up. I’m not saying that its morally right, however, if you don’t want to go through getting banned because of whatever, get a Wii, they just assign you random numbers as your online name and who could call those offensive?

  119. Justifan says:

    your sexual orientation has nothing to do with gaming. infecting the game world with sexual politics is the worst thing to do. and this is just consistent with their policy on user names.

  120. Anonymous says:

    Im a Lesbian gamer, and I play as a guy because of exactly this kind of crap. Sure I wont be joining any gamerchix nights but its better then harassment. Theres NOTHING wrong with being gay or lesbian and proud of it, I’d tell every gay rights group out there and get them breathing down Microsoft’s neck for this.

    Also for you moron parents, if your worried about someone putting lesbian in their profile on xbox live, heres a reality check. The crap people say on Live makes this look like a non issue if your trying to protect your kids. Also, Xbox and its ilk are not kiddie machines. Maybe your 100 and think so but games ARE for adults too, in fact most games children shouldn’t even be playing but that doesnt stop you people from buying GTA IV or Gears of War 2 for your children.

  121. cosmicthoughts says:

    I can’t argue with the reason she got banned – if some people find it genuinely offensive that she’s a lesbian and broadcasts it in her profile then so be it. Perhaps it’s something adults don’t think kids should be exposed to (although I’d have thought compared to the other stuff out there, it’s the least of their worries).

    What I wonder though is are the people who prosecuted this witch hunt – has anything happened to them? It’s a sad day and age when homophobia, racism and xenophobia are rife on xbox live, and instead of dealing with those who propagate such hatred, and banning them, they ban the victim of harassment?

    Maybe I’m out of touch, but frankly anyone who preaches or endorses intolerance of any other human beings or groups of human beings deserves nothing but utter contempt.

  122. dandubois says:

    I find the whole issue to be blown way out of proportion.

    Sure she can state she is a lesbian in her profile but what is the point?
    I don’t have I am straight all over my profile.

    On the opposite side of this why should anyone care if she is a lesbian or not? Her being female and sexual orientation has nothing to do with the game she is playing so people should mind their own business.

    Xbox Live is NOT a place for children even though more often than not its the younger kids with their high pitched whining screaming voices and very vulgar language making it unbearable to play with a microphone. One reason I dont play as much xbox live is because of the quality of the community. You can’t go into any game without being harassed, hearing vulgar language, or at least once every other game session you get the one person who thinks its cool to nonstop screech into the microphone.

    Just the other day i was in an xbox live party with my little brother (15yrsold) and his friends were in there and i had to quit the party because they were being too loud.

    My point is xbox live isnt for kids and parents should be a little more open to explaining something so common now a days and users shouldn’t be discriminated against because of a simple sexual orientation statement but at the same time its a video game. Your sexual orientation has nothing to do with you and your fellow gamers similar interests in a game. If you dont like someone elses profile or find it offensive (within reason). Dont read it again, play your damn game and mind your business.

  123. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t even worth commenting on. Banning neutral words in gamers’ handles has zero justification. Anything neutral can — and often is — used as a ‘slur’ by some people.

    Why don’t M$ take this to its logical conclusion and ban everything except whitespace characters?

  124. Paris Lees says:

    Disgusting. Thank God I didn’t pay for my windows software. Sorry to have to say it, but this doesn’t surprise me form an American company. Let’s spread the word. If I were you Thereas I would writre a letter and ask for a refund – I certainly wouldn’t wabt to use their product if that’s how they treat you. And money is the only language they really understand.

  125. Jme Saunders says:

    The reason Microsoft banned Her and not the homophobes is this.

    4 lots of Xbox live is more money then one lot

    It’s wrong, and not nice. She shouldn’t be banned at all. Microsoft have really pushed the line.

  126. Jake Demo says:

    I am offended by Lives’ backasswards way of interrupting this thing. It seems like every time I am starting to get behind Microsoft again because they are finally starting to do something intelligent (windows 7.) The company goes and pull something like this… Something that is completely socially backwards.

    I am straight, but have a few friends that aren’t, and they have been known to play a few games now and then. In a video game why does your sexual orientation matter? You’re there to frag, or race, or team up to waste aliens. You’re sexual orientation doesn’t even come into play when I join a game. Sounds like the only people that notice it are bigots, and socially retarded bumpkins living somewhere between 1950 and 1959.

    I would really like to know what game that she was playing when people were chasing her around, since if it were a game like Halo, that is an M rated game… As a parent I would be far more worried about the violence my young, and impressionable son is exposed to opposed to girls liking girls.

    as for this quote:

    “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.”

    If anything, this is a chance to teach your children about things like this. A chance to educate them so they don’t turn out like these ignorant bigots and haters.

  127. Anonymous says:

    I agree that she has the right to be proud to be a lesbian and should not be punished for that. I also agree that some other people may have offensive names and should be banned as well. But it simply comes down to this there is absolutley no need for her to have that in her profile this isn’t a singles bar its a gaming community. It simply comes down to she doesn’t need to have it there and people complained. The same as people can complain and have other names removed. This is fair she wasn’t singled out because she is lesbian its because people found it offensive like it or lump it. I’m not saying it is offensive but people found it was. There is no way that it can be justified for it to be there and it wasnt microsoft that singled her out it was the people who complained. She can create a new account and complain about other peoples names if she wants.

  128. Mazda Eric says:

    I’ve experiences XBox Live once in my life, at a friend’s house playing Lost Planet online. I’ve never heard more 13 year olds using the N word and “fag” ever in my life. I’m a crude mother fucker and they still embarrassed me.

  129. Anonymous says:

    Pretty shameful. I just canceled my XBL Gold account (had it running for almost a year and probably played no more than a dozen times), and this was enough to push me over.

    I also shared my thoughts with “Major Nelson,” the public face of XBL, at http://twitter.com/majornelson

  130. TressaLexis says:

    How are people not seeing the difference? Microsoft did not ban her account because she had the information in there. The ban came after a number of people complained about it being in there. Is it right that those people complained? No, but Microsoft needs to follow the same policies while handling complaints in order to be consistent in their enforcement.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t this a bit like running a drug fueled orgy and turning people away at the door because they’re dressed provocatively?

    I mean seriously, has anyone at microsoft actually used xbox live for more than 5 minutes?

  132. CRCError1970 says:

    I don’t think that Teresa had any intent to offend others by expressing her sexual orientation and I believe doing so should not be grounds for suspension.

    Nine years ago I worked for Walt Disney World in the Magic Kingdom. My absolute best friend there was a lesbian woman. Until I had been employed by WDW I had never had close contact with gay or lesbian people and my friend and I were very open with each other on our views on gay/straight orientations.

    We were both new hires and we had the same lunch break so for the first week we both sat together in the Mouseketeria taking about Disney and where we were from. On the 5-6 day of having lunch together she suddenly looked at me and stated “You know I’m a lesbian, right?” I told her “Yes”. She asked if it bothered me and I told her not at all.

    Later in our friendship I asked her why she waited a week to tell me she was a lesbian and she replied “Did you tell me you were straight within that week?”

    She told me that in her opinion expressing one’s sexual orientation to people that don’t know you isn’t necessary. To her it was private information that she didn’t feel the need to express openly. I told her I understand 100%… as a straight guy I don’t introduce myself to new people like.. “Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m straight.”

    My favorite quote from her ever was on a rainy day.. We stopped at our lockers after lunch to get our wet weather gear… On the way back to Frontierland I remember her looking at me and saying “You know how great it is to be a lesbian and get to go into the women’s locker room?” Priceless!

  133. Anonymous says:

    Sexual orientation is a protected class under discrimination laws. File a complaint with the dept of human rights and the BBB. You have a case.

    Microsoft must abide by these rules if they are to do business in the United States.

    • billy says:

      @ViljoOyster: Where is that law? It’s not a federally protected class, for sure. Only some states have it in certain areas.

      Besides, Xbox Live, as far as I can tell, is not a public accommodation, thus, it doesn’t need to follow anti discrimination laws.

      If you have other info, post it.

  134. Anonymous says:

    It makes me proud to own a PS3 – Free online game play! Muting loud people you don’t want to hear, and the freedom of knowing you are not being monitored every minuet you are online.

  135. Morgan Hatch says:

    Ok, lots of people are “stupid” anyway, not brainless just not using their brains! Everyone has a different point of view. We are all supposed to be together as a unit. People quote half of a great saying, but for get about the other half. “United We stand”, but they forget about the “Divided We fall.” this country can’t be United, when we are all divided about the stupidest things ever. Microsoft can jump in a lake and drown. We are all human beings. All of us should be accepted no matter what. People who don’t like you based on a beautiful personality trait, should move to a country where you can’t be yourself! Rock on gamers! Go forward and be unique, be yourselves! Power to the individual!!! Peace! Love! Honour! Respect! Morgan

  136. Mike James says:

    I am quite certain you would have a similar issue if you were to overtly identify your sexual orientation regardless of what it is.. For example, if I tried to use the gamertag of HeterosexualSam I would expect to have an issue.. The point is XBL is not intended to be a forum for advertising your sexual orientation, race or religion. It makes perfect sense to me. XBL is a free service (standard, of course).. with millions and millions of users. Do you honestly expect MS to have individuals making the decisions on each, individual gamertag? This is automated, and catches keywords. It is the easiest way to do this.

  137. Murph1908 says:

    @undefined:

    I agree with Mookie’s original statement.

    Gamertags are not the place to advertise your sexual preference, one way or the other.

  138. Lyris says:

    Absolutely disgusting attitude from Microsoft, but of course it doesn’t matter to me because my Xbox 360 has RROD’d one time too many and I’ve decided to go to the PS3 for games and Blu-ray Disc playback anyway.

    Incredibly disappointing especially given Microsoft’s track record for LGBT employees, which I understand is excellent. It looks like they have demoted their online gaming service to homophobic jocks who want to yell slurs into their headset all day. See you later, Microsoft.

  139. Jon Garcia says:

    I already wrote my thoughtful argument on Kotaku so here’s my flippant response:

    I guess its back to the hanky codes!

    /red with black stripes on the right

  140. Anonymous says:

    Canadian law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. I invite some Canadian to please identify themselves as gay or lesbian on Xbox Live; if you are kicked off, you can launch a discrimination suit against Microsoft. I am certain that the suit would be funded by various anti-discrimination organizations, and possibly by the Canadian government as well.

  141. Anonymous says:

    Right or wrong, it’s in the Live Terms of Use:

    “You agree that we may also discontinue your access to the Service if you do any of the following while connected to the Service:”

    “Create a Gamertag , avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to 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;”

    Sexual orientation is a ‘topic or content of a sexual nature’.

    Is it crap that she’s banned for expressing herself? Of course. But she agreed to the Terms of Use when she signed up for Live and must be held to them.

  142. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t want to use a service that discriminated against me, from both the player base AND the company itself. Tell them to go screw themselves, and get a Wii or PS3. :] Or play on a PC.

    I’m not saying anyone should be banned from a service like that, just that if someone was discriminating against me, I’d be like, “Well, peace out!”

  143. Anonymous says:

    Did you do any investigation to verify Teresa’s claims Meg? Did Microsoft ban her for being lesbian or for using other foul language in her profile?

    It seems that you have chosen to post this without doing your due diligence. I seriously doubt MS banned her for being gay.

  144. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see why she even should be identifying herself as a lesbian on xbox live. I don’t write that I’m straight on my xbox live account, so why should she say she’s lesbian. It’s uncalled for in the first place…people aren’t matched up in matchmaking based on sexual orientation. I totally don’t see her side of the story, sorry…go be open about your sexuality in a sphere that actually involves sexuality…xbox live gaming doesn’t (unless there’s a new game now open to only males, females, straight people, or homosexuals that I don’t know about).

    • Christopher Hammitt says:

      @UsamahManiac:

      So, what’s your point? Just because you don’t do it, doesn’t make it wrong for her to.

      I love the people who complain about the inappropriateness of having something as unobtrusive as gay/lesbian in someones profile, but don’t hesitate to sit through waves upon waves of crude/ignorant/homophobic/racist remarks during a session of Halo 3.

  145. Dyscord says:

    Joystiq has this story up with a response from microsoft.

    [www.joystiq.com]

    They basically say that sexual orientation of ANY type isn’t allowed on profiles.

    • Christopher Hammitt says:

      @Dyscord:

      Which is hilarious, since I see profiles with different variations of “straight” or “I like girls” all the time.

      Maybe gays should start fighting doucheyness with doucheyness and report those profiles as inappropriate when they come across them.

  146. Anonymous says:

    or maybe she said she was a lesbian so creepy video gamers wouldn’t hit on her all the time (my sister plays starcraft and whenever they find out she’s a girl, they all hit on her and ask her for her myspace. creeeepy). oops i guess that wouldn’t have worked anyway!

    in any case, why is it such a problem to say she’s a lesbian?
    it’s the same as saying “i’m an asian dude from norcal who likes halo.” she’s just describing herself. big deal.

  147. Anonymous says:

    And yeah seriously. Online games and the sort are filled with people calling each other f-gs, gay, n-word, etc. I doubt they’re offended by someone saying gay or lesbian in its actual context instead of as a derogatory term. Sheesh.

  148. Anonymous says:

    My name is Justin Cole and I’m the Director of Digital & Online Media at GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

    I’ve been in constructive discussions with Microsoft since the beginning of this year with regards to their gamertag and other XBox Live policies.

    I have a post up about it here – http://glaadblog.org/2009/02/26/xbox-live-homophobia-and-online-gaming-policy/

    Please check it out.

  149. Anonymous says:

    Look guys, its not that hard to figure out.
    She lists her sexual orientation in her profile, then is harrassed by all the “Lowbrows” who thinks its fun to grief, and she gave them the ammo for thier guns.
    MS can’t follow every player and protect them so the make rules to minimize the problems as much as they can.

    1st ammendment rights are somewhat suspended in a privately owned environment like XBOX Live, they own the area, they make the rules.
    Don’t like it, don’t play.

    If you wish to Proudly display your Race, Sexual orentation, political affiliation or religous beliefs I’d suggest doing it in a forum that allows it, God knows in the day of the internet its not that hard to find a place.

  150. David Bandel says:

    My guess is they asked her to change it and she refused. Conduct like this shouldn’t be tolerated in any environment that has a lot of kids. Violence and gore is NOT the same as talk about sexuality. XBOX Live is probably just about the most retarded place someone could pick to “come out of the closet.”

    I say more power to MS for enforcing its own policies on its own network. Hey there’s a concept that works!

  151. Anonymous says:

    I’m disgusted, Xbox Live in the first place is full of idiots who think it’s funny to continually swear and harass other players, if you think about it, most Xbox Live users are kids, kids hiding behind the fact that they are anonymous, this is absolute bullshit, you’d think that in this day and age people could at least tolerate the fact that a woman is a lesbian. And besides, to see the word you would have to view her profile, how many kids view this woman’s profile?, I suppose some sweaty fuck living in his grandmas house heard her voice and got exited and tried to add her as a friend, but was heart broken to discover she was a lesbian. Shame on you Microsoft, stop giving in to the 12 year olds demands and start making mature decisions.

  152. Alar Pardla says:

    I am just wondering, is it OK with Microsoft to state in ones Xbox Live username that some gamer is Hetero/Straight?

    Or would such user-names get soon banned too, as they may again be offensive to the gay/lesbian community somewhere that someone so openly states being straight? ;)

  153. Padraig Addison-Smyth says:

    So to be clear
    > your account can be suspended if you identify yourself as gay
    > but you can play as a gay character in Fable 2

    Brilliant – love the logic

    Are people’s lives so empty that they have to rag on another person – I guess it is easier than making friends.

  154. Paul Blevins says:

    This woman being a lesbian is not the issue as the headline suggests. The fact that she broke the Terms of Service is what is at issue.
    Microsoft has a real good reason for these rules. I like these rules because I don’t want to have to explain to my 3 year old niece what a lesbian is. I don’t want to have any discussion regarding sex with her for a while.
    Microsoft, however much I hate to admit it, got this one right.
    For those who argue about the blood and violence of video games, video games are rated. It is up to the parent to allow kids to see this stuff. That is why Microsoft and community as a whole has this right. Give the parent a chance to choose for their kids.

  155. Tarsuinn says:

    Okay, I have two things to bring up. First, there are depictions of lesbian behavior in some Xbox 360 games such as Mass Effect. If this is allowed (as it needs be under the First Amendment) what’s the problem with mention of it elsewhere? Another thing is that this bigotry is restricted to Microsoft policy and employees. Sony hasn’t said anything about the lesbian matchmaking in its Playstation Home beta network for example.

  156. Yamunation says:

    How can anyone find it ‘offensive’ that someone is a lesbian?

    Seriously, how is that a personal attack on anyone?

    To be offended, someone must say or do something that hurts your feelings.
    How is being a lesbian hurting someone else’s feelings, especially a total stranger?

  157. Anonymous says:

    to anyone without a 360, its not like every game you play everyones profiles pop up. You hit the middle button and then go to friends and then recent players ( or something). Then once you are in their profile you have to go to the right tab to bio. Yes BIO, as in a biography or an About me to social netwokers. If you are going to ban someone for telling the truth in your bio then that’s bullshit. Microsoft is probably livid that Barack Obama got elected. Sorry i’m straight but i’m sick of these little kids talking shit about any little insecurity someone has when i’m paying 50 bucks a year for. That’s why i only use my mic in team tactical or search and destroy (which is full of these kids but anyways) or with friends. I will stop my rant right now.

  158. prodpoke says:

    all the kids i know who are on x-box are teenage boys, you want tolerance, look elsewhere.

  159. Tim Dane says:

    what about me?

    i got banned for having a negative opinion about obama!

    what happened to freedom of speech and personal opinion?

    if somebody were to say they don’t like bush nobody would care.

    so who do i have to call to get an apology from microsoft, and my money back?

  160. Jason Kunce says:

    Microsoft might as well ban anyone who’s straight. Oh, but wait. They wouldn’t do that…they’d lose a large chunk of their income. I think it’s lame that someone gets banned from an online community just because of their sexual preference. After all, there are hundreds upon hundreds of other online community type sites that have people on that are, homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. The only difference is that XBOX LIve involves video games. Let me put the importance on that…VIDEO GAMES! They’re virtual reality, not physical reality. No physical contact involved. Therefore I say that one’s sexual preference shouldn’t matter and shouldn’t be banned. The only people who should be banned are those who harass homosexual and bisexuals. Even those who would harass someone for being heterosexual, though that’s probably rare, it’s still sexual harassment.

  161. Charles Mousseau says:

    To me, this seems nothing more than a side product of the fight of the gay and lesbian community against the use of ‘gay’ as a blank pejorative — using it in the same sense we now use ‘lame’ and ‘retarded’ with much less hassle.

    If you’re going to say that certain uses of ‘gay’ are insensitive / hate speech, then how can you fault Microsoft for saying “fine, it’s just not acceptable to refer to one’s sexual orientation in Gamer Tags or Profiles”? Should Microsoft be allowed to research each user’s racial background to determine if they should be allowed to use ‘n*gger’ in their profile or not either? Should they be expected to see if my gamer tag has a picture of me in my best zoot suit outside my favorite speakeasy before I talk about looking for a ‘gay old time’?

    It would be a nightmare of staggering proportions.

    So, if there are complaints about use of sexual orientation as a pejorative (as in the standard “OMG that’s so gay!”) then just making the topic off limits is the most efficient and overall least offensive policy by a large margin.

    In my opinion, of course.

  162. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    I didn’t know lesbians played Xbox. Gives new meaning to playing with your joy stick!

  163. Daisy373 says:

    Seriously, it wasn’t the fact that she is a lesbian that got her banned from Xbox. I, too, got banned from xbox live and I didn’t do anything to provoke it. Even after all the harrassment I had to endure for being a female gamer, I was banned. So, I decided to give Xbox a little call and find out why this happened. Later to know, that one of the guys I had ignored sent several complaints every day for two weeks. It doesn’t matter your sexual orientation, they just kick you off from what they receive. In return, what do you do when someone harrasses you, file a complaint.

  164. croll says:

    I understand the technical hurdles involved in enforcing the Terms of Service against things said over voice, but M$ had better figure it out — otherwise enforcing ToS against upstanding LGBT users but not enforcing it against harassment and purile homophobes is, of course, going to look bad. The last time I played CoD:MW over Live, it was a constant string of “fag” “homo” and “queer” that had nothing to do with a gamertag, but simply taunting and insulting other players who simply weren’t that good. I asked the guys to stop, they said no, I called a vote to boot the worst offender, and it was overwhelmingly in his favor. I vowed to never play on Live again and that was about a year ago. I never have since, and I doubt that I ever will.

  165. FrankenPC says:

    Is this bashing? Or is it simply MS trying (in vein) to keep the online network kid friendly? There are a LOT of puritanical parents out there still. Their beliefs about keeping your sexuality to yourself really confuses children when they see this kind of thing.

  166. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why this is such a big deal:

    1) She created her own problems by publicy identifying herself as a lesbian to a (very obviously) immature community

    2) She broke the rules, and as such, was justifiably banned by Microsoft

    This isn’t about gay or straight or whatever. She broke the rules, she was punished. Simple as that. Besides, why the hell would you be showing off your sexuality like that if you weren’t either cruising or just being an attention whore.

    I’m not justifying the immaturity of the people harassing her, but like I said, she created her own problems by showing off her sexuality to a community that EVERYONE knows is predominantly immature little punks

  167. Anonymous says:

    from microsofts point of view this is a very hard decision because 90% of people whom would use the term “gay” or “lesbian” would do so in a derogatory manner and from their perspective the only way to deal with it is to just not allow any form of sexual orientation to be described in the profile they are not censoring you because you can express such things with your voice in games but just not in text. i was listening to a podcast about this and they are trying to come up with a way to settle this maturely but you cant make everyone happy the right way is not always the best way.. one more thing to everyone who tried to test the boundaries and put any form of straight or heterosexual in there profile after reading this heard you got in some hot water your selves so its not microsoft being homophobes just trying to make a fair playing field for all

  168. Anonymous says:

    As a public traded company they are on dangerous ground either way. By encouraging hate in this manner they are guilty of discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Which is prohibited by law, and has been reinforced by Supreme Court decision.

    The only recourse for this person is to bring suit against Microsoft until it reaches the Supreme Court. I think the decision would go against M$ at a lower court and be supported all the way up.

  169. Chantelle Tibbs says:

    Sounds like she was kicking somebody’s but on Xbox LIVE

    …ahh haters. Getting more creative by the day…

  170. Alex Griffin says:

    I think its really stupid to ban Gamers for implementing their orientation…No one would have a problem if I put “STRAIGHT MAN ALL THE WAY WOOH LOLOOL” but if I put “Gay and proud” or w/e I get banned? Okay that makes sense?

    But at the same time, I dont understand why someone would want to put their orientation on their profile anyway..no one cares what orientation you are..stop trying to attract attention

  171. Mutuelle says:

    I understand totally the indignation of you as lesbian and you think about the social injustice and your voice not being heard by microsoft. But there is no need to continue to ask for Justice for Xbox. It is not the only game product on the market. Try to ignore and move on. All the best. I’m hetero, I don’t find the use of sexual orientation on a game account.
    mutuelle