Sexual Orientation Can Now be Included in Gamertag

Microsoft has updated its Xbox Live Code of Conduct with terminology that now allows gamers to include their sexual orientation in their Gamertag.

Gamers are now free to label themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender or Straight, in a move GayGamer called “fantastic.”

In a letter announcing the change, Microsoft’s Mark Whitten wrote:

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.

More from GayGamer on the change:

This is something we have been fighting for here on GayGamer for a long time and it’s gives us a wonderful feeling to finally see it come to fruition.

Congratulations to Microsoft and Xbox Live for stepping up to the plate and listening to the concerns of an important and oft overlooked section of the gaming community. Bravo!

Thanks Andrew!

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  1. Valdearg says:

    Lmao. Someone’s a little testy. Frankly, most of the content of my post was fact, and those facts certainly make my point more valid than your "NO GHAYS ON TEH XBL!!" bitching that you have going for you.

    To go back over what I said,

    My first point was clearly fact, taken directly from the article.

    My second point was also fact: You aren’t being forced to read their bios, not everyone on XBL is white, straight, and a young adult, and, for many gays, it’s part of their identiy. It’s part of who they are, and (here comes the actual opinion, for those following at home), you have no right to tell them they can’t express who they are. Again, for many, being gay is just as important in someone’s identity as what country they are from and what sports team they follow. You have no right to tell them they can’t identify themselves that way, plain and simple.

  2. MechaTama31 says:

    By opening up someone’s profile and reading it, you are indeed "asking for it" when you see whatever personal info they put there.  If all you want to do is game, why are you reading profiles anyway?  My profile is completely blank, btw.

  3. FlakAttack says:

    Here is what you did:


    No, my problem is that now this is going to turn XBL into some clusterfuck of divided cultures as everyone bands together into their neat, cozy comfort zones of xenophobic retardation. We aren’t saying "we don’t care" because we’re afraid of what’s different, we’re saying it because we don’t want people to make a big deal about what’s different. We’re all gamers. That’s all we need to know to be equals.

  4. FlakAttack says:

    I… totally agree with this?

    Great examples of logic here folks, this man knows his shit. (Not sarcasm btw) Now, to address some specific things:

    "I have to tell people I am gay because people assume I am straight. When people stop assuming that I am straight, I will no longer need to tell people I am gay."

    You assume too much by assuming that I actually care if you’re gay or straight. You also make the statement that assuming someone is straight is morally wrong or stupid or something… it isn’t. It’s a perfectly valid assumption to make based on the points made by State. The fact that you actually care about what people think shows your insecurity.

    "Heterosexual people do tell the world about their sexuality. Wedding announcements in the newspapers and on tv news, holding hands with their spouses in public, asking men if they have a wife and kids. All of these things are indeed announcing heterosexuality."

    Haha, "announcing" heterosexuality? Displaying it perhaps, but not announcing it. Worst case scenario, this is indirect announcement. People don’t wear symbols representing that they are straight, and don’t have parades celebrating heterosexuality. And you’re going to bring up marriages? Oh fucking please, marriages are happy times for all involved (well, they should be anyway). Announcing them, gay or straight, is not the kind of thing most people are going to get offended by.

    I’m often out of the loop but how many celebrities have come out and said "I’m straight" to the media? Not as many as those who have announced "I’m gay".

    And all this is made under the assumption that people care. I DO NOT CARE IF YOU ARE STRAIGHT OR GAY (with the sole exception being that I am interested in someone for obvious reasons). By assuming that I care, you assume that you are important to me, which is rarely the case.

  5. FlakAttack says:

    Or maybe I want to game with people who don’t care who someone is or where they’re from, unless it’s relevant information. You go ahead and put your life story on the internet when no one asked for it, I’m going to avoid your attention grabbing ass.

  6. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Good job MS. But people do have a choice to add their race and orientation or not. If people do add their race and orientation then they will get flack for it whether it’s bad or good.



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  7. State says:

    Being homosexual is in the minority around 10% of the population are gay, 90% are straight, therefore it is reasonable to assume that someone is straight 9 times out of 10 you’d be right. Why do you take such offense that people think of you as straight? Are you heterophobic?

    We cannot live in a world where people do not make presumptions, especially when dealing with sexuality (we can’t assume people are asexual unless they say otherwise). If I play against another gamer online I am to assume that they are male because the vast majority of gamers are male.

    As already has been said many see homosexuality as part of the pride movement. Sexual orientation is what you are not who you are and many get confused, believing that their sexual orientation is their entire identity.

  8. Inimical says:

    Amen. If this increases the banning of assholes on XBL then there is no harm in that. As much as it’s a win for LGBT gamers, it’s a win for people who are sick of people creating a hostile game environment. Gamertags and profiles with someone’s sexual orientation are going to be excellent troll bait, and I hope every single person who uses their Gamertag to be openly LGBT reports every single douchebag who harasses them. I know I do, and I’m not gay.

  9. Valdearg says:

    Frankly, permabans for harassment of that nature should be the norm. I can’t imagine why anyone would complain about people being banned for harassment, unless you happen to be one of the people doing the harassing. In that case, good luck in the future. You’ll probably need it.

  10. Valdearg says:

    Ugh. The some of the responses to this article are absolutely missing the point. I mean, I know some people who read this site are denser than a dwarf star, but seriously…

    These comments are directed at those dense idiots. (I’d say you know who you are, but honestly, I’m not sure you have the mental capacity to figure out I’m talking about you.)

    First off: You will NOT be required to tell people your sexuality. They are simply allowing people who wish to express their personal identity if they see fit.

    Secondly: If you don’t care about someone’s sexuality, FINE. That means that when you read that they are Gay, you can feel free to shrug, and move on with your life. The very fact that you are complaining that they are now allowed to do it means you do care, and the fact that they wish to express who they are bothers you. Newsflash: Not everyone on XBL is White, Straight, and a male between the ages of 14 and 30. Get used to it, and stop being such a prude. Being gay is as much a part of someone’s identity as being American, being Black, or being a fan of football. It’s part of what makes a person who they are. Anyone who wants them to hide that fact is being homophobic, plain and simple.

    Finally: To those who think it’s a stupid idea because people will be harassed more, It’s not your choice to make. If someone wants to self-identify as gay, they are now more than welcome to do so, without fear of being banned from XBL. If they are willing to put up with the various homophobic attacks, and aren’t afraid to report and mute someone who is being persistantly vicious, then they should be allowed to do it. If you are afraid that YOU will be kicked for harassing someone who’s gay, then maybe you should re-think the insults you use to talk trash to others. If anyone gets banned for calling someone a slur in a game, I certainly don’t hold any compassion for them, and they deserve what they get.

  11. Mysticgamer says:

    You can put your orientation on xbox live?  It’d be safer to put a shoot me sign on your back at an NRA convention.

  12. Erik says:

    "I have to tell people I am gay because people assume I am straight."

    No.  Many people, including myself, do not assume you or anyone else are straight.  We also do not assume you are gay.  We don’t care.  It has no relevance.  So: shut up and play.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  13. MechaTama31 says:

    Maybe he has a condition where he is compelled to open up and read the profile of every person he games with, and then go online to complain about how the profiles are full of things he doesn’t want to know about people.  You should be more understanding.  😛

  14. MechaTama31 says:

    In a perfect world, this is great news.  In reality, I think they are just walking into a minefield, if they’re going to take on the responsibility of making the call between what is legitimate self expression and what is derogatory.

  15. renedrivers says:

    I wanted to address two questions that seem to pop up on this subject.

    1) Why do gay people feel the need to tell people about their sexuality, heterosexual people don’t.

  16. I have to tell people I am gay because people assume I am straight. When people stop assuming that I am straight, I will no longer need to tell people I am gay.
  17. Heterosexual people do tell the world about their sexuality. Wedding announcements in the newspapers and on tv news, holding hands with their spouses in public, asking men if they have a wife and kids. All of these things are indeed announcing heterosexuality.

    2) Why do they need to say they are gay online? This type of information has nothing to do with games.
    Online usernames aren’t about games. They are about the individual.

  18. chadachada321 says:

    If you don’t want that info, then don’t look at my fucking profile! That’s the whole POINT of the profile! The "Bio" section is for stuff like age, sex, location, what else would it be used for?

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  19. Magic says:

    Speculating, here’s what I think:

    1. It all comes down to actual gay pride. Many seem to view it as a very important part of their life and, to some of them, everything revolves around it. It’s who they are, it defines them as a person and since it’s so important then they want people to know. Compare to people with religious symbols or clothing or simply someone wearing a t-shirt with a statement on it.

    Heterosexuality is the norm (And obviously biologically common and, well, necessary!), so indeed no one would notice announcements specifically about it as a major factor.

    2. They want people to know. I agree, it has nothing to do with games. I can understand their motivation for it but personally I don’t see the necessity. People don’t do this in real life in the samy way, no one (that I know) walks into a meeting and exclaims their sexuality.

  20. Cerabret100 says:

    no problem, like i said, i don’t care if he’s got an issue with gay people, I don’t mind gay people (some of them are a little too open about it, or act too much like the stereotypes but that’s another issue)

    It’s not necesarily what he’s saying, so much as the fact that he won’t stop saying it.

  21. FlakAttack says:

    And I don’t want to know that you’re a straight 18 year old male from Michigan. That information has only very specific uses in the world of gaming (like clan age limits or time zones) and other than that, it is useless.

    These aren’t fucking personal ads, if I wanted your info I’d say "a/s/l" and then you’d know for sure I was retarded and it would save you the trouble of having to talk to my dumbass. As I said before, anyone who puts info like that in their profiles is someone I usually steer clear of because people generally put that info in their profiles for all the wrong reasons.

  22. chadachada321 says:

    It’s ONLY about Xbox profiles. This story isn’t about people advertising their sexuality in the game chat, this is only about people putting it in their profile. I should be allowed to put that I’m a "straight 18 year old male from Michigan" in my profile, as a brief description of who I am. So, too, should lgb people be able to put their sexuality in their profile. It’s not an "advertisement," it’s just a description.

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  23. chadachada321 says:

    Oh, well if he acts like that, then I totally agree, he sounds incredibly retarded. I hate people like him. My apologies for jumping to his defense (or, rather, the "gay"-word defense). He seems to harbor some sort of obsession with homosexuality. Perhaps he is just deep in the closet? xD

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  24. Cerabret100 says:

    he is referring to homosexuals because he also mentions how their “boyfriend” always kills him.

    And besides, i don’t care if he’s actually has anything against gay people, it’s still annoying as hell to spend the entire weekend listening to him. i’m amazed he has online friends with all his whining.

    I figure i have two options, look at him and say “maybe you just suck”

    Or beat him over the head with my keyboard

    OR blast up my headphones and risk ear damage to drown him out

    Probably be best to go with the first option if simply ignoring him becomes impossible.

    He’s also apparently picked up a “catchphrase” which sounds “ur gay” or “ur day” (betting the former) that he utters EVERY 5 SECONDS.

  25. chadachada321 says:

    Or you could ignore it, because calling something "gay" is not the same as saying "this is stupid BECAUSE it’s homosexual."

    Calling something "gay" is just common slang for kids these days. Yes, some people are actually prejudice against gays, like many on XBL, but just because a guy says "that’s gay" doesn’t mean that he has anything against homosexuals.

    (See: the South Park episode called The F Word, except for Gay instead of Fag)

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  26. Conster says:

    This is an amazing change. Now, if you call someone a "fag", people can verify if you’re speaking the truth or just using hyperbole. =)

    *doesn’t actually have an Xbox*

  27. hellfire7885 says:

    Sadly yes, a lot of permabans, ragequitting and harassment and stalking is likely in the future.

  28. FlakAttack says:

    Or hide his xbox and get his dumbass off the internet. We don’t need more douchebags like this.

  29. Shahab says:

    I don’t see what place this has in gaming. I’m saying there can’t be gay video game character that straight, gay, or bi people might choose to roleplay as, but why do we have to go around telling people our sexualities on places like xbox live? All this is going to do is make for more immature comments from people using the service.

  30. Cerabret100 says:

    well according to my roommate, the usual live douchbag, anyone who doesn’t die when he wants them too, or kills him when he thinks they shouldn’t, is gay. And he’s sure to say it loud enough for me to hear.

    So i’m sure he’s gonna have a field day with this. and i’ll need to go buy more aspirin for the headaches.

  31. State says:

    It’s not just about being able to include sexual orientation in gamertags, it was about people who just happened to have the word "gay" in their surnames.

    On a sidenote why does GP have to put an image of a pink controller next to the article? Is being gay simply about liking the color pink?

  32. jedidethfreak says:

    Then you have far more faith in humanity than me.  I see nothing coming of this but a shit-ton of permabans and cries from GLAAD that MS needs to do more "to protect the GLBT community."

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  33. hellfire7885 says:

    I think those who will be targeted are coming in full well knowing this, and by now are used to it when people find out.

  34. PumaFau says:

    This is gonna make people a big target


    Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

  35. DarkSaber says:

    Yeah, banned, sure. And leave XBox live with like 10,000 users left.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  36. mdo7 says:

    Look like MS will allow a "Richard Gaywood" online again, I hope.  I’m a little worried about this.  But then again, if those idiot on Xbox Live start using "fag", "homo", and something like that.  They wil get banned. 


  37. mr_mlk says:

    What do you have displayed in your XBox profile?

    I know mine said "I need Beer" and ":yawn: Sleepy". Neither bit of information is required. Do you feel that I am forcing information on you that do not want to see by posting it on my Xbox Live profile?


    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  38. Valdearg says:

    I’ve got something against bigots hiding behind the word "equality" to keep gays from openly being who they are. Thats exactly what you are doing, right here. Who cares if they identify themselves? You don’t have to read their bio, and you most certainly don’t have to game with them, if you don’t want to. (However, that just makes you an asshole, if you don’t want to game, just because they are different than you.)

  39. FlakAttack says:

    If people identify as straight, they should be banned as well as those who identify as gay. XBL is not your personal ad. A gamer is a gamer.

    What are YOUR true colors? Got something against equality?

  40. Valdearg says:

    I love how you are getting pissy that people WON’T BE BANNED anymore for identifying gay. I mean, seriously. Your true colors are really showing.

  41. Chamale says:

    I don’t know what you play, but I play Battlefield: Bad Company, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, and various other games online for hours every week. I’ve never heard anyone called a fag, though I’ve been personally called the N-word several times (I’m white).


    This is a signature virus. Please copy and paste into your signature to help it propagate.

  42. jedidethfreak says:

    Do you REALLY believe that?  I mean, seriously?  You’re not joking?

    You must be joking.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  43. Chamale says:

    "Fag" is mostly used in PC FPS games – it’s not particularly common on Xbox Live, at least not nowadays. The reason has to do with homophobia, but also the fact that the F, A, and G keys are very close to the standard keyboard buttons for FPS games.


    This is a signature virus. Please copy and paste into your signature to help it propagate.

  44. thefremen says:

     Yeah the peeps I game with on Steam/PSN sure as fuck are. Being able to identify through profile allows ppl to connect with others/play games with others who won’t give ’em shit so it has a net positive effect. 


    It’s basically the equivalent of being called a haxxor for doing something somewhat amazing, like taking out a plane with an RPG in BF. Of course, harrassment/stalking is another matter entirely, but often ppl are targeted by stalkers just for being female/playing with a pink Spartan.

  45. Lcpuche says:

    This. True, some people just do it for attention. And then cry about it when made fun of.

  46. FlakAttack says:

    Just like being black/white or where you come from, being gay or straight shouldn’t matter and I don’t believe this information belongs on XBL, Steam, or any other gaming service. Including information like that just encourages like-minded people to stick together and not include anyone else. I mean, as it is now, you include "black – gay" in your profile and you’re some forward thinking guy, but "white – straight" and you’re some backwards fucking hick who hates gays, blacks, and women. (because some people take it all personally when you say ‘hey, I’m actually part of the majority… though that is a technicality at best’)

    I want to game with people who don’t care who you are or where you’re from, and that’s why anyone who includes that information (straight or gay or whatever) in their profile is someone I’m going to steer clear of. This all just reeks of attention getting and I fail to see why anyone should be considered so special.

  47. Positive_Gamer says:

    I still don’t understand the need to flaunt your sexuality in a video game.  Just not the place for that kind of thing, gay or straight.

  48. Erik says:

    Is there a "None of your fucking business, now shut up and frag something" option?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  49. chadachada321 says:

    You’re blonde? ;3

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  50. Kojiro says:

    Get ready to use your mute button even more often than you currently do.

    For a while I actually had my chat permissions to "freinds only" so we could essentially do party chat in MW2.  That might be a good idea for someone who’s brave enough to include their sexual orientation in their tag.

    Personally, I still think it’s irellevent information, especially for a gamertag.  Live isn’t a dating service.  I won’t be changing my gamertag to "straight-tall-blond" anytime soon.

  51. Father Time says:

    Well I can’t remember MS ever banning someone over talking about their race nationality or religion just sexuality.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  52. Andrew Eisen says:

    Egads, I’m blind!

    Well, I feel sheepish.  Especially considering I too wondered why that wasn’t mentioned in GP’s report.

    "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." -Marc Whitten

    Interestingly, the updated code of conduct does not mention race, religion, or nationality.  Perhaps that’s why GP omitted it?


    Andrew Eisen

  53. SeanB says:

     uh.. the quoted area of my post … the part about race, religion. That’s a quote from the actual press release.

  54. Gardog says:

    I don’t think it’s even possible for that word to be used more often online. Gay gamers must be completely immune to it by now.

  55. thefremen says:

     Nobody is operating under the false assumption that identifying yourself as anything other than straight in your gamertag would result in anything less than the most horrific queerbashing possible, just as anyone who has a black avatar in xbl can expect to be called "Nigger" literally every 5 seconds. /b/ is no longer the asshole of the internet, the entire internet is the asshole of the internet.

  56. jedidethfreak says:

    I hope they’re ready to be called "fag" even moreso now.  That’s all I’m saying.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  57. E. Zachary Knight says:

    It is not some question that one must answer when setting up their gamer profile. They are just allowing people to put it in their profile and gamertag if they want to. There is no requirement. There is no specific sexual orientation question.

    Please people. Learn to read.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  58. SeanB says:

    WOAH! Holy 180 degree turnaround batman!

    It wasn’t long ago they banned a guy for having the last name gayman or something similar.

    Booo on GP for missing the bigger picture though

    "As of today, references to sexual orientation, race, religion and nationality will be allowed in Gamertags and profiles!"

  59. Sora-Chan says:

    huh, this is actually really nice of them to do.


    Just one little teeny problem… Transgender/Transexual isnt a sexual orientation but a self identity to one’s gender to those who beleive they were born the wrong sex.


    Beyond that, I actually see Transgender being a option actually nice. Though I can see some people not wanting others to know.

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