Friday, February 27, 2009

Gamer suspended from XBOX Live because she identified as a lesbian in her profile!!!


I'm MAD!

Get This:

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."
The Full article, by Meg Marco, over at "The Consumerist," is here.

Microsoft "explained" a parallel issue where they forced a guy to change his gamertag from "TheGAYERgamer." (full article here):

Microsoft, when contacted, referred us to Xbox Live team member Stephen Toulouse's personal site which explains the Live terms of use in detail. Toulouse writes that the gamertag is in violation of implied "sexual innuendo", one of the many forms of disallowed "content of a sexual nature." Toulouse expands:

We recieved a complaint on the Gamertag and determined that it did indeed contain sexual innuendo. Now granted, there could be an argument that the text is not pejorative to homosexuality and should therefore be allowed. But there is no context to explain that. Gamertags are visible to everyone and it would be hard for me to defend to a parent of a young child who saw it that the name did not contain content of a sexual nature.
What's even crazier in this case is that it wasn't anything Teresa did or said in the game, as a player, it was her mention of being a lesbian in her profile! And, excuse me, but when the HECK did mentioning you're a lesbian or a gay man mean you were talking sex? Do we need a different expression than "sexual orientation?" Something that illustrates that being gay is not purely about SEX? (And helps straight people remember that?) Maybe "gender-affection-direction?" (or is that too rhyme-y?)

Either way, I think Microsoft is WRONG on this.

Are any of the over 750,000 XBox Live subscribers allowed to say if they're Black in their profile?

How about if they're Asian?

Or if they're Christian?

Come on!

...And, one more thing: I wonder about the parents whose children are so young they can't handle the fact that lesbians and gay men exist in the world... and are letting those same kids play XBOX Live.

I mean, was it playing Team Deathmatch in Destruction Mode in the Hell's Kitchen map on MECH ASSAULT, when suddenly some child stopped playing, put down their Pulse Laser, their Medium Laser, their Particle Projection Cannon, their Machine Gun, their Autocannon, their Gauss Rifle, their Crossbow, Hammer, and Javelin LRM missiles, and, of course, their Lava Gun, went to the user profile of another player, saw she was a lesbian, and decided that trying to rack up the most kills wasn't fun any more because now they knew there were people like that (like us) in the world? Someone who could fall in love with someone of the same gender! Oh, the cruel truth of it!


Microsoft needs to do some work on their virtual world. 'Cause we're out here in the REAL world. And this stinks.

What do YOU think?

My thanks to loyal blog reader (and eagle eye) KELnino for the heads-up on this!


undeadgoat said...

My boyfriend's parents are pretty conservative, and he's pretty into video games. Apparently when he was maybe 16 he got his mom to buy him a game that was rated "M" for violence, and there was an image of dismemberment or something on the cover, and she made sure there was no sex in the thing before she bought it.

I'm very glad I have liberal parents.


Anonymous said...

Well - I would understand Microsoft's position if they extended "off-limits" information to religion & political affiliation. (I would be /so/ offended to be playing a Republican!). So I get the theory, but in practice, really really really badly done. Then again, I hate Microsoft. HATE. So, at least today I have a new reason, yay!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Two words - it's Microsoft. (Is that technically three words?)

They're one screwed up company and they make tons of money while they're at it. I hope this gets changed, but I'm not holding my breath. Maybe it would be better if there was a backlash against the company and people chose not to play their games. Don't think that will happen anytime soon though.

Anonymous said...

Not much to say except that's maddening and stupid. Grrr!!!

I saw an article recently (in The New Yorker? maybe?) about online moderation by fellow users, content flagging, etc., and how some pretty egregious censorship can result. This sounds like more of the same BS.

Hayden Thorne said...

Yeah, apparently it's okay to blow each other up, but falling in love with someone of the same gender is OMGWTFDYKECOOTIESBBQ!!!1111!!1!

Anonymous said...

While this stuff is dumb, at least Microsoft had a good excuse. They have an automatic seacehr to find all the offensive things in names and profiles of the thousands of people they have, and it automatically bans/warns them(which is why Richard Gaywood was accidently suspended). They disallow all stuff like that because there is no way to tell if someone is actually trying to be offensive.

There could be a Jewish guy named Michael who made his username Mike The Kike, who's proud of his religion and likes the cool name he made up. There could also be some jerk who made the same name and just spends his entire time making jewish slurs. There's no way to safely deal with that so the best option is just to get rid of it all. Even bigots can ryhme.