Xbox revokes its own version of "don't ask, don't tell"

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Microsoft has reversed a restriction it had on Gamertag names that prevented people from using words like "gay." It decided to remove the restriction based on user feedback.

Previously, users were not able to have "gay," "lesbian," "bi," "transgender," or "straight" in their Gamertags, the online ID that users sign up for when they take their Xbox 360 online.

The words were treated like profanity and racial slurs to prevent offensive usernames from popping up on high score lists and online games. However, there was a bit of an uproar from some gamers who wanted to use the words in a non-offensive way. These users sometimes had their accounts banned.

In an open letter, Xbox Live general manager Marc 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."