A cyber-row has broken out after a woman was banned from playing XBox Live online because her open lesbianism “offended” other players.
Teresa said she was targeted by other players before she was banned.
“I was harassed by several players, ‘chased’ to different maps/games to get away from their harassment,” she said.
“They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn’t want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap,” Teresa reveals.
“Microsoft does nothing to stop this or prevent it, but instead sides with the homophobes.
“No one will help me get the word out about Microsoft’s anti-gay policy. Not even the HRC who says Microsoft has a positive image with them. Not to me it doesn’t!”
X Box Live moderating chief Stephen Toulouse said on Twitter:
“Expression of any sexual orientation (straight or gay or otherwise) is not allowed in gamertags.
“However we’ve heard from the user-base they want that capability, so I am examining how we can provide it in a way that wont get misused.”
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said there was “rampant homophobia in the online gaming community.”
GLAAD has held meetings with gaming companies and plans to host a panel discussion this summer in Silicon Valley.
“We’ll be discussing the issue and getting feedback from both the LGBT and gaming community about how to fight the defamation and educate users about the impact of their words and actions,” the group said on its blog.
“We’re truly in a new era. And with new technologies, come new challenges. LGBT people have fought hard for years to come out of real-world closets – we’re not willing to accept virtual ones.
“As GLAAD makes progress, we will be engaging the community in a vibrant discussion and work together to find the best solutions to make online gaming safe and enjoying for us all.”
GLAAD said Microsoft “have been nothing but open, welcoming, and willing to discuss ideas for positive and inclusive changes during these conversations. Microsoft has invited GLAAD out to its headquarters in Redmond, WA, for multi-day meetings with developers, executives, and policy enforcers in the upcoming weeks.”
A survey published in 2007 found that online gamers face a homophobic culture.
The Gaymer Survey, conducted at the University of Illinois and involving over 10,000 respondents, found that gay gamers experienced a high level of homophobic attitudes and language.
88% of respondents said that they had heard the phrase “that’s so gay.”
84% said that the word ‘gay’ had been used in a derogatory way.
Over half of the respondents felt that gays were stereotyped, 52% found gaming worlds to be hostile to gay and lesbian gamers, while 42% felt that gays were under-represented.
Only a minority of participants (9%) claimed that they had never encountered anti-gay remarks.
Jason Rockwood, who conducted the survey, said: “Gay gamers experience a double-edged sword of prejudice.
“The mainstream gay culture and media is not supportive of video games. Then you have the video game culture that is not supportive of gay culture,” he told innewsweekly.com.
“So you have these people stuck in the middle who have this double-edged prejudice.
“I’m hoping this survey would shed some light on how or why people go through such a process.”