Xbox Live Now Allows Sexual, Racial Identifiers

Microsoft announced an update to their Xbox Live Code of Conduct today, which will allow users to “more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation” in Gamertags and online 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,” wrote XBL general manager Marc Whitten. “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.”

Microsoft has been fielding criticism about the policy, particularly in regards to gay and lesbian Xbox users who have felt that they couldn’t express themselves. The story hit last year of a lesbian being suspended due to her name. Later in the year, the launch of The Ballad of Gay Tony brought the issue up again, making users wonder why a word was banned if it was in a game title.

Of course, the spirit of the policy was to prevent abuse, and Microsoft promises that hasn’t changed. Whitten says that Xbox Live will be policing for people abusing the terms more than ever, and promises “increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms.” In other words, if you’re legitimately gay and want to express it on Xbox Live, go for it. If you want to use it as a pejorative, this isn’t free license to do so. (Source)


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