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Xbox Live Gaywood Drama Update

Gaywood.gif

As Sgt. Sausagepants reported earlier today the XBox Live team disallowed Richard Gaywood's gamertag consisting of his name (RichardGaywood) from their service and forced him to pick a new name. While it's not the smartest idea to put your real name as your gamertag, for identity theft reasons, Richard was a bit flustered by the affair and decided to inform the fine writers over at Kotaku about his problem.

After contacting Microsoft, Kotaku received this official response in return:

"We want the Xbox LIVE community to have the freedom to express themselves, but we also have a responsibility to create an inclusive, safe environment," said Microsoft's Stephen Toulouse. "While it may be clear to some that Gaywood is a legitimate surname, it may not be obvious to other Xbox LIVE members. In this case, a complaint was filed by a member of the community, requiring the Xbox LIVE team to examine the gamertag within the context of the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use. Based on the these guidelines, it was necessary for the gamertag to change."

Recall Toulose also referred to the XBL Terms of Use in explaining why user "TheGAYERGamer" received a ban, stating, "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."

Finally, Microsoft confirmed to us that Mr. Gaywood's gamertag, like any other found to be in violation of the Terms of Use, will not be reinstated. Hope no other XBL users have legal names that might have the ill fortune to appear "sexual."

So it looks like Richard won't be getting the ruling overturned. 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. If they make one exception then they have to listen to everyone's case as to why they should be an exception. At the same time, it still not in his best interest to have his real name as his gamertag

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. Add to this that one of the great portrait artists of the mid-1650s was a Richard Gaywood, whose portrait of Edward Cocker is pictured above, and now you have a historical figure that it also pays homage too. All in all, I say that If he has enough guts to display his name proudly than more power to him.

Microsoft Explains "Gaywood" Ban [Kotaku]

25 Comments

Richie said:

Pure bullcrap. Do they also ban people with names like "TheJewishGamer" and "TheAsianGamer" ? His excuse that it is "sexual" is such a pathetic made-up excuse.

This is just wrong. Frankly, this is beginning to reek of homophobia. I get the feeling that this is not about sensitivity, rather it is about pandering to straight bigotry at this point.

Anyone else getting that vibe?

Brandon said:

Thats Microsoft for you, run by idiots.

raindog469 said:

Come on, if this doesn't prove it's a stupid keyword ban, what would?

Cody said:

How ridiculous. This is just another excuse to discriminate the gay community. Technically the word "Straight" would also describe a "sexual" nature, so shouldn't anyone with the word "Straight" in their gamer tag also be banned "per policy"? If we are going to be fair, be fair.

just my 2 cents.

-Cody

wolfbrother said:

I've been reading these posts about the gay gamer tags and have previously been on the fence about them. I can see the reasons why they feel they need to have a blanket response to names that might have a sexual connotation. However, the quote "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." hits home to me that this is homophobia. Being gay is not just about the sexual act. It is part of who we are and being denied the option to use the word gay or similar tags online is another way to say that gay people should not "flaunt" themselves. How is this any different than being told that you can't hold hands or be affectionate with your partner while in public because a child might happen to see you? Visibilty and communication are much more effective at bringing mutual understanding than silence.

seb1024 said:

so your a fan of uk soccer team Scunthorpe United will you then be required to change the name as it contains the word cunt?

this is pure political correctness gone mad and nothing more

swotr said:

100% agree with wolfbrother. The most alarming thing to come out of this entire debate is stepto's statement. Imagine the uproar if this had been a religion or race he'd be "defending" to a parent.

landale said:

This is political correctness gone mad.

I think people should be able to choose whatever names they want. That way, if someone with an offensive screen-name logs in, I have advance warning that I might want to relocate to another game before they start spamming hate speech.

Censoring user names doesn't stop hateful people from using the service, it just better hides them, and punishes innocent users like Richard Gaywood.

landale said:

This is political correctness gone mad.

I think people should be able to choose whatever names they want. That way, if someone with an offensive screen-name logs in, I have advance warning that I might want to relocate to another game before they start spamming hate speech.

Censoring user names doesn't stop hateful people from using the service, it just better hides them, and punishes innocent users like Richard Gaywood.

Ottergame said:

My last name is Stone. Clearly that would be not allowed, because it promotes drug use.

rflagg said:

Another commenter who felt exactly the way wolfbrother did. To say it's sexual is insulting, sexist, and ignorant. First they say they want to fight homophobia, then they do this with the gamertags. If they really want to police gamertags, I think we'd be down to about 3 names that'd be allowed to stay, as a good deal of them reference drugs, sex, etc.

As Niko Bellic says, "Idoita!"

-m.

SilentSpartan said:

It seems that Microsoft don´t care about homophobia. It´s the famous "don´t ask, don´t tell" policy. If no one is allowed to have a gamertag related with homossexuality, there´s no need to worry about bullies. I suppose their whole idea is: "son, don´t suggest that you´re gay, because we don´t want to have to defend you"...

jayoshi said:

thats it... i'm selling my xbox... i'm tired of this shit... now gay is too "sexual" for kids to see... thats homophobic if you ask me

jayoshi said:

and before people are like "well he didn't say it was seen as being sexual that kids shouldn't see but that a parent MIGHT think it is"

well regardless... if you think someone will complain about it and act on that... then you agree with them in a way... if you truly didn't believe that having the world "gay" in your gamertag is in any way sexual then you WOULDN'T have banned it based on those reasons... this is pure bullshit... i'm so upset by this... GAY IS NOT A BAD WORD!

Rene said:

Maybe instead of banning gamertags with the word gay in them, they should concentrate of banning players who yell fag all the time on live?

Then again who cares if gay people are offended by a horrible slur, it only matters that the straight people aren't offended.

SZK said:

I find this both disheartening and sickening. But on the bright side, at least now I'll never have to worry about purchasing any gaming products from a company that follows such biased and homophobic policies; my PS2/PS3/PSP budget just got a sizeable bump.

Richard Gaywood said:

Thanks to those of you defending me, it's appreciated. I'm not particularly offended at them making me change my name; people have been taking the piss out of my name my whole life, as I'm sure you can imagine (although it's a new experience for multinational corporations to be taking the piss). I'm annoyed at the sheer asinine stupidity of it though.

They way I see it, if parents have a right to their children not reading the name "Gaywood", where does it stop? London has a Gaywood Road and a Gaywood street, better change them. There's even a town called Gaywood in King's Lynn in the UK, better change that too. There were at least 1500 kids in my school, so a good chunk of those would have been traumatised by reading my name too; blimey, we'd better parachute in some top notch psychtherapists to clear up this trail of destruction I've been leaving behind me my whole life.

There's other nonsense too. Xbox won't let me put my surname in the Real Name field, but I can write Straightwood in there. Go figure. However, I can write my name in the Bio field, which displays right below it. Maybe it's less offensive two inches further down the screen?

Decompiled said:

So family names like, Hancock, Woodcock, Grewcock and Cocks. As well as the little known Goodcocks, Mancocks and Bigcocks are all not valid gamertags!

Decisions like this don't help make for a very tolerant society.

SilentSpartan said:

nothing against xbox owners but I´m so happy I got a PS3... I never had this problem there...

a la Mode 7 said:

"Will somebody please think of the children" has been used consistently here in America as an exceptable excuse for censorship and bigotry. No surprises here.

Randle said:

What it comes to is simple: this isn't an issue of mad political correctness, this is an issue of Microsoft cattering to the the people who give them more money. Right now they assume that it would be a better business move to make Gays feel unwelcome, and to make sure that their core audience of bigots (most of whom are shrill-voiced) can continue to "pwn" in Halo 3 without fear of encountering "The Gay."

The only way I think we can fight back is to start requesting ban's on any name we might deem offensive, but I'm a Fight-Fire-With-Fire kinda guy.

Andy said:

I think it's completely ridiculous that 'Gaywood' can't be put in the real name field - seriously, Microsoft - but 'Straightwood' can be. What are people supposed to do, change their name?!

thedigitalpunk said:

I was playing GTA yesterday, it was a simple mission of follow the drug dealer. Whilst following him with a friend in the car I get a bit too close, my in-game friend asks "you gay or something? why you up his ass?"

Now a gay comment like that doesn't bother me, I understand Rockstars humour and that anything goes...

... but Microsoft that has declared this "war" against homophobia by removing the "offensive" gamertags has allowed a game on their system that uses the term gay and in a derogatory way. A little bit hypocritical methinks.

By disallowing the use of gay is a major step backwards for the gay community. I always believe in exposure, for both sides. Exposure for a member of the gay community by being able to say who and what they are. And even exposure of the homophobe about their opinions and beliefs. Only by bringing such things into the open can we discuss and deal with the issues. Once more gay penned gamertags appear the homophobes will realise how many "queers" there are and (finger crossed) would begin to accept it and become accustomned. Also the "queers" can become stronger and learn how to deal with verbal homophobic attacks and use it to educate others.

Most hatred comes from ignorance and failure to understand. By hiding issues it wont go away, its just being left to simmer. So come on Microsoft... get your act together and change you terms.

capi etheriel said:

yeah, kids can't read sci-fi since phillip k dick has a sexual surname.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Andy on Xbox Live Gaywood Drama Update: I think it's completely ridiculous that 'Gaywood' can't be put in the real name field - seriously, Microsoft - but...

Randle on Xbox Live Gaywood Drama Update: What it comes to is simple: this isn't an issue of mad political correctness, this is an issue of Microsoft...

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