More gay gaming quandries for this week: Consumerist reader Grant writes to complain that his gamertag, "theGAYERgamer" has been spontaneously banned by the Xbox 360 Powers That Be. Grant spoke to an Xbox Live supervisor who said that while she didn't personally find the gamertag to be offensive, it had been deemed so by the "greater Xbox 360 community:"
I have had a bad morning. Last night when i tried to sign into my xbox live account "thegayergamer" I was told that it had to be changed. I figured that it was just from people reporting it as an offensive name being that the greater Xbox live community isn't exactly welcome to gay people, i spend a lot of time muting people on Halo3. I assumed that once i called Microsoft they would straighten things out.
I talked to a supervisor there, Roxy, who told me that she didn't personally find the fact that my gamer tag had gay in the name offensive, but that the greater Xbox community did, so i would have to change it. I hope I'm not the only person who finds this don't ask, don't tell policy disgusting... eek
From Grant, thegayergamer
This is hardly the first time we've seen such behavior, which follows the typical community guideline model for keeping things under control: most MMOs and online gaming services won't let you use certain language in your character name or user ID, and although it's unfortunate to have a clever name taken away from you, it really does seem to be a necessary part of the process of making an online community such as Xbox Live safe and friendly - following the logic of 'don't bait the haters.'
Given the recent attempts by Xbox brass to reduce homophobic behavior on XBLA, it seems to me to be even more likely that this restriction comes from a well-intentioned place. (Although Consumerist asks quite aptly if the gamertag 'theHETEROgamer" would be banned as well, and I think we deserve the answer to that question).
What do we think about naming policies? Do they help curb homophobia or just limit gay visibility in the online world? Is this discrimination, or the necessary sanitization of an environment already prone to mouth off offensively?
"Gay" Player Name Banned By Xbox Live [Consumerist]