Microsoft updates XBL code of conduct, gay and lesbian tags now ok

By Stephany Nunneley, Friday, 5 March 2010 14:45 GMT

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Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, has tweeted some good news this morning.

A change to the XBL code of conduct will now allow you to express your sexual orientation in profiles and Gamertags.

According to the new policy, you can start using the terms Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, and Straight in your Gamertags and profiles.

However, you still may not use these terms to insult, berate, harass or use them in a debasing manner.

Upon typing in the approved terms into your profile, you should find that they are not blocked. The updated code of conduct page can be found through here. Be aware though, that Microsoft is still “sweeping the system” for variations of the words – so it might be for a few days before all spellings, phrases, etc are acceptable within the service.

Toulouse says that if you have issues with getting the term to go through, contact support.

Marc Whitten, general manager of XBL has a letter on the official site, chatting about the changes, here is a snippet:

I’d like to announce an update to the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct which 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.

I truly believe that our diversity is what makes us strong: diversity in gaming and entertainment options, and diversity in the people that make up this amazing community. I look forward to seeing you on LIVE soon.

In April of last year, Microsoft met with Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) to discuss how the company could improve relations with the gay community, and allow members of XBL to show their sexual orientation within the service without becoming a banner for harassment.

Then, in July, EA hosted a panel on homophobia in videogame culture sponsored by GLAAD, and attendees included the Entertainment Software Association, GayGamer.net, Linden Labs, and Microsoft.

Bravo Microsoft. Bravo.

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