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XBOX BANS A LESBIAN FROM GAMEPLAY

We’ve all heard stories of one person’s crusade becoming a full-blown war, and it looks like the gay and lesbian community has found their war against Microsoft.

Last week, news emerged of a gamer named Teresa who frequented Xbox Live. Teresa was allegedly banned from the service because she identified as a lesbian in her profile.

Needless to say, she wasn’t happy about this and took the ban public, no doubt with little knowledge that the entire thing would force Microsoft into a very embarrassing and public apology over its woeful Xbox Live Policy.

The issue is that Microsoft claims its policy is there to prevent homophobic slurs on XBL, a sort of gaming “don’t ask, don’t tell.” MS does state it’s against “ALL types of orientation,” because Microsoft doesn’t want anyone outlining their sexual preferences on Live.

But there is a huge problem with context while using text analysis technology to pick up on this (which is allegedly what MS uses), and many words are simply not being picked up by the system.

In a brief investigation carried out by LesbianGamers.com, the following gamer tags were shown to be in existence (at some point): IamStraight, hetero, HeteroLifeMates, poofterh8r, Gaybaishnig, Lesbiankilr, Queerkillah and Dyksmasher. Clearly the issue with these Gamer tags isn’t just that they refer to sexual preference, but that they actively incite hate against particular groups. It is only logical then that Microsoft immediately act on this pitiful system to ensure that context is considered when it comes to Gamer tags.

The backlash from not only the LGBT community but also the general gaming community has been quite astounding. Gaming websites and groups have banded together to ask what can be done in this situation and how Microsoft can improve its policies.

There is no doubt Microsoft realizes it has a problem and the company has to act on it, and for this we applaud them, but surely they need to consider this one of their priorities at the moment in order to regain confidence in the LGBT market.

— by lesbian gamers

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