Posted on May 25, 2008, Shawn Sines Xbox Live's Gay Gamertag Purge Incites Gay & Lesbian Gaming Sites
There’s been a lot outcry over Microsoft banning an Xbox Live gamertag, TheGayerGamer. To be fair, XBL has also banned another gamertag, RichardGaywood. Unfortunately, that screen name isn’t a reference to the player’s life style; it’s his real name.
Gay & Lesbian gaming sites have started to weigh in on the debate. GamePolitics as usual is right on top of the protests.
Lesbian Gamers has an article up condemning MS for equating the word “gay” with sex.
I’ve taken a few deep breathes, run this story over in my mind again and again and yet still return to the same annoying factor: Why does ‘gay’ automatically equate to sex or “of a sexual nature” and carry with it such negative and deviant overtones…
I can understand Microsoft are trying to protect users, but perhaps there needs to be some tabled debate as to what they’re protecting whom from and what they’re perpetuating in the process. Linking ‘gay’ to some negative or sexually explicit content merely fans the fires of homophobia.
GayGamer has also come out in defense of Mr. Gaywood although the author admits “it’s not the smartest idea to put your real name as your gamertag, for identity theft reasons.”
I’m somewhat on the fence with the issue, having played many MMORPGs and seeing the many annoying and disturbing names that can come from idle minds on the internets, and it seems as if Microsoft is putting up the normal “we can’t make exceptions” defense…
All of this, however, is greatly outweighed by the fact that it is his given name, and despite the connotations it may carry with it, he lives with that name everyday…
Unfortunately, I would have to say that its too late to save the word “gay.” Its traditional meaning has been all but forgotten. Most kids can’t sing certain Christmas carols or listen to West Side Story without breaking into fits of laughter.
As for Richard Gaywood, he’s better off picking a gamertag that doesn’t use his actual name. It’s a huge personal security risk that no one should take.