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Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-on-you dept.
Last year we discussed news that an Xbox Live gamer was banned for identifying herself as a lesbian on her profile. Microsoft said at the time that nothing sexual in nature could appear in Gamertags or profiles. Now, they seem to have reconsidered their stance, and they've updated their Code of Conduct accordingly. Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten wrote: "[The update] will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms."
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Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

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  • by headkase (533448) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:05PM (#31382304)
    Gay rights are the civil rights struggle of our generation. When you have two consenting adults living and loving each other and then telling them they cannot get life insurance on each other to cover their mutual home in case of tragety is bigotry. This "marriage is between a man and a woman" bit is exactly the same as "coloreds don't drink from the white fountain." I don't even happen to be gay and I can still clearly see this.
  • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:11PM (#31382368)

    Yeah right. Try "Feedback from our lawyers".

    Even though protection is still wholly inadequate at the federal level; microsoft does business in a number of states where anti-gay discrimination is very illegal and very actionable. I don't believe for a second that they've had a sudden change of heart in the direction of equality and fairness. More likely, legal and PR informed the decision makers that they were about to be on the losing end of some pretty hefty legal action and bad press.

  • I'm heterosexual. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:15PM (#31382416)

    What's with the urge to tell people that you're homosexual? I don't go around telling people that I am heterosexual and usually find it inappropriate when somebody tells me their sexual orientation. What do I care? When I make a move, shoot me down when you are not interested because you're homosexual or when you're just not interested. When we work or play, I don't need to know.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:16PM (#31382430)

    Just no. The arguments for gay marriage can transfer to polygamous marriage, sure. I don't really have a problem with that. But how in the hell do you extend that to marriage of objects?

  • by SolidAltar (1268608) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:16PM (#31382432)

    Except polygamy hurts society, especially men in general.
    It's better for a woman to have 1/16th of a rich man than all of a poor one.

    Gay guys who just want to be with eachother doesn't hurt anyone.

    Marriage to objects or animals doesn't make sense since they're not human.

  • by The Grand Falloon (1102771) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#31382462)

    All the arguments for gay marriage are transferable to polygamous marriage

    I see nothing inherently wrong with polygamy. Complicated, commonly embraced by cultures that use it as a form of oppression, but it's not wrong in and of itself.

    and marriage to physical objects.

    Well, that's the stupidest fucking thing I've heard today. It's not noon yet, so there's plenty of time for a challenger to take the crown. Let's see how the day goes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:22PM (#31382486)

    Except polygamy hurts society, especially men in general.

    High fructose corn syrup hurts society. Cigarettes hurt society. Etc. You cannot simply denounce an idea because it may have some immeasurable negative effect on society. Or perhaps you are the kind of person who would like to do that?

  • by ascari (1400977) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:25PM (#31382530)
    I agree with you on all counts. But this really has very little to do with TFA and the Microsoft thing. After all, since when is "identifying oneself unambiguously to Microsoft marketeers" an inalienable human right? There are more important battles to fight and win for the gay community.
  • by plover (150551) * on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:31PM (#31382580) Homepage Journal

    Bull crap. They're struggling for nothing then.

    In real life, I barely care about you as human. I don't want you to tell me what you do, or who you do it with. I'm simply not that interested.

    On a video game network, I'm even less interested. Don't tell me you're gay, or straight, or white, or black, or a hairdresser or a hobbit fetishist. I don't care. Either pull out the BFG and start fragging some bad guys, or stick your head in the way of my shots.

    I got enough crap in my own life to worry about. Their gender issues rank about 0.1% on my care-o-meter. The only people I care less about are the ones who hate other people based on stupid crap like this, and them I actively hate.

  • by ph0rk (118461) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:34PM (#31382618)
    The information isn't really for you, it is for other homosexuals.
  • by headkase (533448) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:35PM (#31382626)
    That reminds me directly of a quote I read: "Don't support gay marriage? Then shut the fuck up and don't get one." You're right it doesn't need to be in your face but the issue does need to be in the face of those with that bit of evil in their hearts.
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:35PM (#31382630)
    It is even more analogous to "marriage is between two people of the same color".
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @02:46PM (#31382736) Journal

    I got enough crap in my own life to worry about.

    Sorry, we don't care that you've "got enough crap in your own life". You're now banned from Slashdot for saying something that isn't approved of, and that no one cares about.

    Don't go whining about it - there are more important things to worry about than a Slashdot account, right?

  • by GnomeChompsky (950296) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:04PM (#31382892)

    I bet you're also male, and probably also white. You probably never think about your gender or your race, because they are viewed by you and the rest of society as the default - you are presumed straight until proven otherwise.

    The fact that you never have to critically assess your gender, sexuality or race are all reflections of privilege. Minorities, especially of the non-visible kind, need to disclose the information that they fall into a particular minority group - because otherwise, it's very easy to demonize them. If you don't know several gay men, it's easy to believe that all gay men are pedophiles.

    You don't "need to know" that people you know and love are gay; *they* need you to know that.

  • by night_flyer (453866) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:05PM (#31382902) Homepage

    We would have a lot more to worry about if Heterosexuals were in the minority

  • Gender expression? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:05PM (#31382906)

    Lesbian and gay are not genders. They might imply one, but they aren't genders themselves.

  • by imidan (559239) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:10PM (#31382946)

    You may be a troll, but I think this is sort of important. In a further posting, the OP notes that the real deciding factor is consent. Consent is required for a marriage (and many other legal agreements). This is why, for example, I shouldn't be able to marry the Eiffel Tower: it is impossible for an inanimate object to offer consent. This is also a refutation of the common claim that allowing gay marriage inevitably leads to institutionalized bestiality. That's just a gross-out scare tactic. A dog or cat (or any other kind of animal) is not legally capable of consent, so there is no danger of codifying a relationship with an animal as 'marriage'.

    So, this argument would seem to permit plural marriage. I don't have a problem with that. As long as all the people in a relationship are freely, understandingly consenting to their arrangement, what's the problem with that? Yes, it causes some trouble with things like spousal medical benefits and taxes and other things that are based on single-partner relationships, but I think we can come up with ways to deal with those problems.

    There's kind of an idea in this country that we all know what marriage is, and it's this one particular thing. But is it, really? When we talk about 'protecting the institution of marriage', whose idea of the institution of marriage are we protecting? Many Catholics, for example, would say that there's really no such thing as a divorce; marriage is an eternal bond made before God, and when you swear that oath 'til death do you part, you don't get to change your mind, later. Still, about half of all marriages in the US end in divorce. It seems pretty silly for straight people to beat the 'sanctity of marriage' drum when they can't even get it right, themselves, half the time.

    The real key, in my mind, is to disassociate the legal agreement of marriage with the religious ceremony of marriage. I don't see any special reason why religious marriage should be recognized as a special institution by the government. Civil marriage contracts should be required for legal purposes, and should only be potentially coincidental to religious marriage. Why did we make the Mormons give up plural marriage? Their religion defined it as acceptable, but the majority religion in the US did not. For a country that supposedly separated church and state, we have some pretty suspiciously Christian rules in place.

    p.s. - I realize that many 'plural marriages' today are little more than excuses for disgusting men to have sex with a lot of young girls. That's not really a plural marriage, at all, because informed consent and freedom to dissolve the contract are completely absent from those situations. I absolutely don't support the practice of enslaving young girls and calling it 'marriage'.

  • Re:Exhibitionism? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:14PM (#31382998)

    [...] it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community [...]

    How come? Did gay people avoid joining because they couldn't state that they were gay?

    If a guy complained "my wife is making me go shopping for new curtains tomorrow" nobody would blink an eye. On the other hand if a guy said "my boyfriend is making me go shopping for new curtains tomorrow" is that "stating they are gay"? Is that "exhibitionism"?

    I don't think the point is that the majority of normal, reasonable gay people want to interrupt Halo games to discuss the wicked cool anal sex they had last night - I think the point is that they don't want to have to conceal perfectly routine stuff about themselves in case it "gives them away". Also, how can you realistically deal with the annoying 11 year olds shouting "faggot" at people when the official policy is that being a homosexual is something that has to be concealed?

  • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:31PM (#31383152) Homepage

    Whereas, the reasons I hear in opposition of same-sex marriage are simple: traditional marriage is intended to incentivize childbearing, which is how we perpetuate our species, a practice without which our society will inevitably terminate

    If this is our intent, we could gather a lot of extra taxes from those people who are married but unable or unwilling to conceive. Why should they get the benefit when they have no intention or are unable to fulfill the requirements of the incentive?

  • by Virak (897071) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:48PM (#31383308) Homepage

    Analogizing racial issues to sexual preference issues is significantly problematic. If you see them as "clearly" "exactly the same" then you haven't given it sufficient thought and your expression here is demagoguery.

    What I see is that you have given sufficient thought to come up with a justification of why those people were assholes but you, holding very similar views, are actually a rather enlightened fellow. This doesn't change anything of the reality of the situation; they're both the same shit.

    Marriage is an abstraction that bridges inescapable biological facts and society's desire to channel those facts to a particular end. Historically recent romanticization of marriage in the West, for various reasons including a drive toward individualism, does not change the fact that marriage is an ancient practice intended to institutionalize reproduction, subverting basic biological drives into the reinforcement of (ostensibly patriarchal, arguably gynocentric, potentially some compromise between the two) cultural norms.

    Historically ancient origins of marriage as being related to reproduction do not change the fact that it is currently, for many people, an important part of human interactions, and denying it to those people on the basis of how things used to be is a shitty thing to do (not the mention the various legal issues that can pop up with not being married). A lot of things currently differ in purpose from their original ones, deal with it.

    In the state of Arizona, homosexual marriage was rejected on the grounds that marriage is a legitimate state approach to incentivizing childbearing and the nuclear family. And since no one is "entitled" to state incentives, marriage cannot be claimed by "right."

    They can call it a kumquat if they so please, but that won't make it one.

    Other courts have found that marriage is an individual right--to recognition of your union with someone of the opposite sex, whether you love them or not.

    And they used to say the exact same thing about marriage with regard to race (which you somehow assert this is completely different from). The argument is utter bullshit either way. Much of humanity has realized that "you are free to marry anyone--as long as they're of the same race" is a retarded thing to say, and much of it is starting to realize that replacing "race" with "sex" makes it still a retarded thing to say.

    There are sound reasons for these decisions. You don't have to like them, you don't have to agree with them, you certainly don't have to accept them, but you cannot say that this kind of discrimination is based on arbitrary hatred.

    I damn well can say that, because they are flimsy rationalizations for arbitrary hatred. Ever wonder why these people who claim gay marriage is BAD and WRONG because marriage is supposed to be about reproduction never make the same complaints about marriages where one or both of the partners incapable of reproduction? It's because they're a bunch of moralistic asshats who are just trying to hide their true motives, and failing.

    The only reasons I've ever heard for segregation boiled down to, "We don't like those people."

    No, they all boil down to the same thing arguments against gay marriage tend to boil down to: "If we let them be treated like us, the fabric of society will unravel!"

    The only reasons I've ever heard for same-sex marriage boiled down to, "We like these people."

    Really? All the ones I've heard are more along the lines of "These people are people and, as such, deserve the rights of people." Aren't strawmen so much easier to attack, though? You certainly seem to think so.

    Whereas, the reasons I hear in opposition of same-sex marriage are simple: traditional marr

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#31383372) Journal

    I think what he's getting at is what the fuck does someone's orientation matter in an online game? And fairs fair, if everyone had that attitude what would be the big deal?
  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#31383382)

    What's with the urge to tell people that you're homosexual?

    I think it serves two purposes. First it shows you that it is a lot more common than just a 'freak occurance'. Second is that it helps others feel more comfortable about coming out. The thing to keep in mind is that a lot of homosexual people feel like they have to hide it and a good chunk of those probably have a damn good reason to do so.

    Somebody else said this, but it's worth repeating: It's for their sake, not yours.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2010 @04:01PM (#31383406)

    True. It's like the rainbow flags displayed in certain dorm rooms or buildings. The extra attraction is like the wardriving signs on the sidewalk: "come see here what you wouldn't otherwise know unless you spent lots of energy." Obviously, the minorities do want to lessen the burden in getting sex, and since potentially embarrassing events of "no! what made YOU think I am gay too!" could prevent other interested minorities from pairing up sexually.

    Compare to gay handkerchief codes and sex wristbands. The latter are somewhat of an urban legend (see snopes [snopes.com]). Highschoolers wear the bands to show various sex acts the were willing to commit with you. Saves people with similar tastes time getting close enough to otherwise potentially uninterested partners to actually inquire if they give head / hug / do anal, etc.

    Codes are a neat idea, and wish geeks had their own shag code too; we only get to wear silly t-shirts where an obscure enough reference will fail to get another geek interested in you. There is geek code, and I think even a sex gee code, but those are extremely without translation tools, and only work in forums, and not something you can wear for everyone to see IRL.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#31383950)

    Umm... yes? Marriage is all about financial incentive. Or rather, about legal incentives.

    Look at it from a practical point of view. Can you have kids without marriage? Countless experiment in this area tell that indeed this is possible. Can you live under one roof out of wedlock? Again, zero problem here either. Can you do all the other things that the proponents of "hetero-marriage-only" field as a reason against gay marriage? Name one that you can't do without being married. I ask you to.

    So what's left? Inheritance, taxes and certain other rights. There is ZERO biologic reason for marriage. Proof: Any animal, and the fact that any biologic process from reproduction to child rearing works pretty well without an artificial construct like "marriage". So what's left? Social and society reasons. In other words, legal reasons.

    There is NO reason for marriage aside of social and legal reasons, hetero or gay.

  • Re:Angry Much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alaren (682568) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @05:12PM (#31383986)

    It's always a little disturbing when someone defends the pointless large-scale infringement of the rights of others and tries to pass it off as "rational discourse".

    You cannot win by telling your opponents that they are "obviously wrong." You have not responded to any of my arguments with anything more coherent than, "that is wrong." You say:

    None of the arguments you raised are valid, and the question is as simple and obvious as the question of miscegenation laws.

    But at no point do you show your work. Everything you say is conclusory, assumes that you are correct without ever giving reasons why.

    So, bringing up the subject of capability for having children is what's known as a "non sequitur"...

    Except it's completely on point with the concept of heterosexual marriage, because reproduction is essential to the character of marriage and hence essential to the debate. Your attempt to eliminate it as relevant only shows that you cannot address it head-on.

    "You so sillay!" isn't a proper rebuttal.

    Neither is "you are full of shit," and yet, here we are.

    I thought perhaps you were simply emotional about the subject--that your inability to respond coherently the first time meant you needed to cool off and try again. Calling you angry was giving you the benefit of the doubt. We all get angry.

    But apparently you think you actually responded to me in an intelligent fashion by declaring my post void by fiat, ignoring my expressed views in favor of attacking those I was presenting not for their truth but as evidence of the existence of a genuine debate.

    When you realize that intelligent people are capable of disagreement--that not everyone who disagrees with you is automatically "a retard," you might re-apply for admittance into the world of adult conversation.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @05:37PM (#31384186)

    [CITATION_NEEDED]

    I could point you to scholarly dissertations such as these [royalsocie...ishing.org].... but why bother. The evidence is plain as day and so easy to see that even the greatest dolt could not miss it: homosexuality occurs in all naturally heterosexual species. Dogs, cats, mice, birds ... you name it. If it was all some sort of "Satan's sweet whispers to get the weak-hearted to stray from the Holy path" as the Bible-thumping boneheads would have you believe, it would only occur in humans and its prevalence would be orders of magnitude higher amongst the "Heathen non-believers (pick your Heathen religion here)" then the "pious".

  • by plover (150551) * on Saturday March 06, 2010 @06:13PM (#31384414) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, dimwit, you guessed wrong. I don't have a preference. I don't care what your handle is. You can call yourself FlamingQueer69 and it doesn't matter to me. Fire or be fired upon.

    It seems to bother the people running the XBox Live network, however. The whole point is they're afraid if someone tags themselves "lesbian" then the people in game will say stupid things like "you just got blown by a dyke" and that will make children cry. I figure if you tag yourself with labels that identify what you are, you are actively inviting the discussion, which includes bringing in evil people with slurs. And my whole point is "that discussion doesn't belong in the video game."

    What belongs in the video game is game context chat: "I think he's hiding behind the west tower" or "watch out, FQ69 picked up the rocket launcher." If you want to discuss what or who you are, go buy a copy of "Sexual Orientation Discussion 2010", and for all you who are so very very interested in what other people do in their bedroom time, go there and chat.

    "Don't ask, don't tell" is a great way to deal with it, mostly because the whole damn thing is irrelevant to anything outside the bedroom.

  • by samoanbiscuit (1273176) on Saturday March 06, 2010 @06:34PM (#31384550)

    I wonder if removing financial incentives might dampen many homosexuals' desire for matrimony.

    I think the incentive for marriage equality has more to do with recognition of a partner over other relatives, in situations such as end-of-life decisions, inheritance and administration/execution of estates. This still bites many same-sex couples in the ass when one partner dies, often because of the hostility of the deceased's family. This I think is much more important than the financial aspects.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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