On Friday, Microsoft implemented a few changes to the Xbox Live code of conduct, that will now allow users to include five previously-banned words in their Gamertags (online usernames), with said five words dealing with a user’s sexual orientation.
As reported by PC World, up until now, the five words: gay, straight, lesbian, bi and transgender, were deemed inappropriate by Microsoft, out of fear that users would see their inclusion as a target placed on a user’s back, opening them up for ridicule and derogatory slurs from their peers.
However, while the banning of these words may have been done out of the best intentions, it actually worked to offend the very people it was meant to protect. Marc Whitten, Xbox Live’s general manager addressed the change in a public letter issued on the company’s website:
“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.”
One can only hope that Microsoft will truly live up to that spoken dedication.