A 26-year-old unemployed gamer identified by the AP only as "Moore" listed his location in his Xbox Live profile as "fort gay WV" — a real place with some 800 residents. But Xbox Live claimed he had violated their code of conduct, and suspended him for several days. Deprived of his gaming skills, his team lost "a key Search and Destroy competition!" Xbox Live remained hard-hearted, threatening to cancel his account and hold on to his membership fee, "which he'd paid in advance for two years." The mayor of Fort Gay even got involved, but Xbox told him "the city's name didn't matter. The word 'gay,' he was told, was inappropriate in any context."
Somebody at Microsoft finally decided to look at a map, and Xbox Live has reversed its decision. Director of policy and enforcement Stephen Toulouse says Xbox will apologize to Moore, and admits that "in this very, very specific case, a mistake was made." But this isn't the first time Xbox has screwed up in recent months — back in August, a female gamer contacted their tech support team, only to be given advice directed at her nonexistent son. Xbox clearly needs to learn that some of its users are female — and why does it assume that anyone using the word "gay" must be trying to offend? Moore's situation aside, would Xbox make a distinction between a clearly offensive handle like "ihategays" and one like, say, "gaypride?" Couldn't their code of conduct allow room not just for people from Fort Gay but also for gay gamers who want to refer to their orientation in a positive way? The folks at Xbox Live definitely need an atlas — maybe they need an attitude adjustment as well.