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XBox (Games) Games

Gamer Claims Identifying As a Lesbian Led To Xbox Live Ban 1182

Goatbert writes "I just read on the Consumerist about an XBOX Live user being banned for identifying herself as a lesbian. Despite appeals, Microsoft has stood by its position that merely mentioning that you are gay or lesbian is grounds for terminating your XBOX Live membership."
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Gamer Claims Identifying As a Lesbian Led To Xbox Live Ban

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  • Fair is fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:27PM (#26987223)
    As long as you get banned from Xbox live for identifying yourself as straight too, I don't see a problem with this...
    • Re:Fair is fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:43PM (#26987579)

      Look. Here's how it is. Microsoft make it REALLY easy to join XBOX Live but virtually impossible to leave. This is just the most convenient way to leave.

      It's like the way they charge to change your gamertag but if you ask several ppl to 'complain' that your gamertag is offensive, microsoft 'force' you to change it.

      It's just ppl working around MBA-led bullshit.

    • Re:Fair is fair (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:54PM (#26989165)

      What about indirectly identifying yourself as something? I'm really confused here, since I have been playing Fable II for the last couple of days.

      The whole game is LOADED with references to sexuality. You can have condoms, unprotected sex, extramarital sex.

      Characters in the game are either straight, gay, lesbian, or Bi. Men can have sex with men, women can have sex with women, hell I have not tried yet, but I think I can have sex with the dog.

      There is a whole quest, and scene in the game, where the father has to come to terms with the fact his farmer son is gay and just wants to live in the city. As part of the quest, you need to find him a date. Bring a man for extra points. There is even a point in the game where you can change your sex. A transexual dream to be sure :)

      Fable II is an ONLINE experience too. Some parts of the game you cannot unlock unless you are playing with other players.

      EVEN BETTER. Men can marry other Men. Not civil unions. Marriage.

      So how does MS apply their policies to a game like this where just about everything around you is invitation to debauchery, lewd and depraved acts, lesbians getting it on with lesbians?

      Please note, I am not complaining. I already had my 5th lesbian today in the game.

    • Re:Fair is fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nbates ( 1049990 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:29PM (#26989841)

      Actually, that's not the same. In the current cultural context, you are assumed to be straight.

      I guess you are straight and that's why you didn't noticed. But being gay myself it is obvious to me that people always assumes I'm straight, it is obvious because I often find myself "coming out" to people. You'll think our sexual orientation is something that doesn't come up often, but actually it is. Maybe somebody tells you how hot Angelina Jolie is, or maybe asks you if you are married, or a coworker who invites you dinner and tells you that you can bring a girlfriend. Very small things that you don't even notice.

      I really never found somebody who didn't make the "straight" assumption.

      And that's why the headline says the problem was with somebody identifying as a lesbian. Do you really think nobody has ever identified as straight in Xbox Live? (example "I'm married" "I have a girlfriend" "I like blond chicks") Did you ever heard that was a problem?

      Another common misconception is that saying you are gay is about sex. It is not. As an analogy, when you say you are married you are not saying "I'm banging a woman", even if you in fact have sex with your wife. In a similar way, saying gay is making a statement about who you are, your life experience, and in general where you come from.

  • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:28PM (#26987241) Homepage Journal

    My name is "Spike"

    xboxlive won't let me use that name in the "real name" field of my xboxlive profile. It says that it's a banned word.

    Why could that be? I think it might be because it contains 'spik,' but even that seems ridiculous.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:31PM (#26987295)

    but do they ban themselves?

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:32PM (#26987321) Journal

    ... because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap.

    Whew, I couldn't agree more! Because it's been scientifically shown that exposures to gay people is what causes one to be gay. But why stop at targeting gays on the XBox? Did you know that your child might be befriending another kid in grade school and your child's friend may be gay and not yet know it? The only safe way out of this is to remove your kid from school--did you know that nearly 100% of homosexuals have gone through school? A frightening figure! You better find a conservative Christian school that teaches your child intolerance and how to properly ostracize and judge other people. That's the only way you can provide for them a pure and clean life.

    And if the rest of us are lucky, we'll never have to interact with your kid.

    This is not helping the already low low stereotype I have adopted of the users of XBox's online service.

    • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:57PM (#26987881) Homepage Journal

      Good point, they are surely safe in catholic school!

    • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:58PM (#26987899)

      The big thing such parents worry about is that their children are exposed to gays that are not horrible monsters and thus the kids start seeing them as regular people... which the parents are trying very hard to prevent. These parents do not want to risk their kids seeing gays as people.. they want to see them unquestioningly as sick pedophiles that are destroying society, inhuman evil monsters that can not be related to.
      THAT is why they don't want their kids exposed to gays in enviorments like this where they might actually *gasp* get along with them.

      • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:24PM (#26989747)

        Er no. These parents don't see homosexuals as monsters or anything like that. That's an absurd characterization, and its made so that you can, in turn, demonize the opposition. What they do feel is that homosexuality is immoral, and showing it in a "normal" light promotes the view that it is normal. This, in turn, encourages people to act on their homosexual urges. They are not worried that their kids will see homosexuals as normal people, but rather that they will cease to view homosexuality as immoral, and possibly be "recruited" as homosexuals.

        An ignorant belief? You bet.
        Bigoted? Yep.
        Portraying homosexuals as monsters and pedophiles? No way.

        Just because some people are bigoted asshats doesn't mean you should likewise engage in hyperbole to demonize them. Its counter-productive.

        • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:46PM (#26990115)

          That actually kinda makes my point. If children are exposed to homosexuals in a way that does not portray them as immoral monsters then they start seeing them as normal people and not immoral people.
          Condensed.. it is important to these parents that their kids continue to see homosexuals as inherently immoral people. It is also important to them that their own children be so scared of these immoralities that if they are gay themselves they will keep it nice and repressed out of fear of being monsters themselves.
          Kinda sounds the same to me.

          • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @08:03PM (#26990373)

            Viewing something as immoral is not the same as "[seeing] them unquestioningly as sick pedophiles that are destroying society, inhuman evil monsters that can not be related to." Sure, they want their kids to think its immoral so that they "don't become gay," but they don't consider homosexuals pedophiles or monsters.

            You're projecting your own negative feelings towards Christians onto them. It seems to me that you are trying to paint them as malicious rather than ignorant, and portray them in such a negative light that you can justify hating them. The same thing that you accuse them of.

            I spent my formative years around a lot of people who were fundamentalists and thought homosexuality was "wrong," but the message was always that they were sinners that needed to be saved and reformed, which is an ignorant point of view, but hardly what you are making it out to be.

            Your efforts at hyperbole are pretty hypocritical. In writing your screeds about how they are unjustly trying to make homosexuals seem like "inhuman monsters," you are dehumanizing them by trying to assign very evil intentions that they do not harbor. What they are doing is not right, but neither is what you are doing, and its only going to alienate people that might have been allies.

  • by Haoie ( 1277294 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:32PM (#26987323)

    That identifying yourself as 'lesbian' online is secret code for "I'm a straight guy looking for girl love. Pew pew."

  • I'm skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:34PM (#26987361)
    This blog post does nothing but reference itself. There are no formal statements from MS and no proof of any kind given. Show me the proof, then I'll side with you. New tag: proveit

    Also, I don't hang my hat on being straight - do you really need to point out that you're gay in your xbox profile? I mean... really? I don't think you should be banned for doing it, but I think it's a little odd.
    • Re:I'm skeptical (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:22PM (#26988487) Homepage Journal

      Also, I don't hang my hat on being straight - do you really need to point out that you're gay in your xbox profile? I mean... really? I don't think you should be banned for doing it, but I think it's a little odd.

      I run a guild in WoW, I myself am straight, but we have gay members in the guild. When ever we pick up someone new I make sure they are aware that there are gay men in the guild. Not because I'm trying to pimp them out (most of them are already married), but because people tend to be better about not tossing words like "fag" around or saying "that's gay" when they know that there are gay people around.

      So yeah, I think it's perfectly acceptable to have someone post that they are homosexual on their profile. If it makes other people be a little more self conscious about how their words can come across and breaks the social norms of using homosexual terms as insults, then I think it's AWESOME.


  • by sean_nestor ( 781844 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @05:42PM (#26987539) Homepage
    This is unusual, since Microsoft is apparently considered one of the most gay friendly employers in the US [microsoft.com].

    From the site:

    It was one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners and to include sexual orientation in its corporate nondiscrimination policy. Since 1989, Microsoft has supported and sponsored gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues at Microsoft. In 1993 an organized employee resource groupâ"Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft (GLEAM)â"was launched. GLEAM now has more than 700 members.

    The group even has it's own Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] (for what that's worth).
  • Call me crazy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BaronHethorSamedi ( 970820 ) <thebaronsamedi@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:00PM (#26987965)
    ...but I've been on XBox live. The vast (and I mean vast) majority of references to homosexuality in that community are slurs. Really, really ugly ones.

    So we have a blanket policy saying, no mentioning of sexual orientation in your profile or gamertag. Period. Because, while it's possible that such a mention in a gamertag/profile is a perfectly true, totally non-offensive statement about an individual's self-identified sexual orientation, the odds more strongly favor it being a nasty, hateful comment (or at best, a tasteless one).

    If a given behavior has a 1% chance of being legitimate, and a 99% chance of being a TOS violation, doesn't a ban make sense? I'm not sure I'm willing to blame Microsoft for not wanting to go through thousands upon thousands of gamer profiles for approval on a case-by-case basis.

    And yeah, why do you feel it's important to proclaim your sexual orientation on XBox live anyway?
    • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:45PM (#26989003) Homepage

      And yeah, why do you feel it's important to proclaim your sexual orientation on XBox live anyway?

      Straights proclaim it all the time just by talking about what they do and who they do it with, on Xbox Live, on WoW, on LOTR Online, at the 7-11 buying a Pepsi, shooting the breeze with the person sitting next to you on the bus. You don't have to even think about how you broadcast your sexual orientation, because it's so automatic.

      Gays and lesbians, on the other hand, must make an effort not to broadcast our orientation, and we do it by self-censoring what we talk about. But if we slip up and mention something that implies our orientation, now we're "flaunting" our sexual orientation, even though we said something that, if it came from a straight person, would not have attracted any notice whatsoever.

      Is there anything else I can help you with?

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:55PM (#26990271) Homepage Journal
      What is really being said is that a significant percentage of the people on xBox live are really intolerant. Rather than losing the income from these people, which they would if MS actually banned members who made slurs against others based on arbitrary characteristics, MS chooses to tacitly condone this behavior. It is no big deal. It is unlikely that GBLT customers would make up the income lost from those who feel strongly that GLBT are devil worshippers.

      The best thing to do online is proclaim yourself a straight white male. That way if those guys who sit and watch the border crossing cameras for Mexicans crossing into the US find out your mexican, they won't start telling you go home and quite spending all thier tax money on the hundred illegitimate babies you have at home. Or maybe the follower os the extremely traditional catholics might find out that you are one of those devil worshipping protestants. And who knows what would happen if anyone found out that someone might be divorced and on their second marriage, why that might start a flame war on polygomy.

      The reality is that people who are comfortable being in an exclusive environment like xBox live, or believe that such exclusive environments do no harm, will continue to do so. This is a significant portion of america, given the results of the last presidential election. Almost no one is going to turn in their xBox simply because MS supports bigoted behavior, any more than we would stop shopping at wal mart because we are concerned about the trade imbalance or stop buying meat becuase we are concerned about illegal immigration and the abuse of undocumented workers.

      In the end those that wish to express themselves will go somewhere else, those that wish to attack other people will stay with xBox, and we will continue to have segregated communities that never talk to each other. Because, as has been said so many times in this post, why should i listen to someone who believes differently from me. I should have every right to taunt and slander such people if they have the audacity to think that I should be compelled to even associate with them.

  • by Doug52392 ( 1094585 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:01PM (#26987987)

    Your playing a video game online with a group of pre-pubescent kids and teenagers who are granted nearly full anonymity without any fear of punishment, what did you expect?

    Now, due to the vague explanation of what happened given in the article linked in the story, I'm going to make some assumptions here. I would assume that:
    * Some kids on Xbox Live noticed that the gamer identified herself as lesbian.
    * Due to ignorance, or just for the "lulz", kids decide to file fake complaints against the gamertag in question to get the account banned.
    * Microsoft's fully-automated complaint system receives numerous reports from many people about the gamertag in question, and automatically bans the account.

    This just goes to show what a failure Microsoft's disciplinary system is. Microsoft made these game consoles and FREE headsets available to kids and teenagers, as well as adults. So, with that many people using an online service, it's fairly obvious that SOMEONE will abuse the system, break rules, etc.

    And yet, Microsoft decides to not only use a centralized network infrastructure for Xbox Live, rather than the infrastructure used by most online PC games, but they even made the disciplinary system fully automated. No human involvement. No one checks the validity of reports. No one is in the games to ban abusers. No way of even verifying weather or not a ban was justified or not when someone calls Microsoft's Tech Support. Such an easy thing to abuse.

    By contrast, nearly all servers on PC games are administered properly. There's at least one admin on, admins ban the hackers, cheaters, racist/homophobic people, and maintain their server's rules. Nothing's automated. There's always human involvement.

    I don't think Microsoft intentionally banned this person or refused to re-activate the account because the user is lesbian. Live's servers received compliments from a bunch of people, automated system bans the account, with no way of telling weather or not the compliments were legitimate or created fraudulently.

    Microsoft seems to be ignoring the lesson here: You can't trust machines to babysit children.

  • by AioKits ( 1235070 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:14PM (#26988289)
    Never thought a Star Trek TNG quote would apply to anything but...

    "When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anyone - including their parents." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard
  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:21PM (#26988465)

    Pink Triangle, meet Red Ring of Death.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley