"Gaymers" Speak Out On Homophobia

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"Gaymers" Speak Out On Homophobia

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A little friendly smack talk during a bout of fierce, friendly online competition is one thing, but the prevalence of vile and hurtful homophobic sentiments in online play is all too commonplace. This week gay gamers speak out against homophobia in the online gaming community.

In an insightful video feature on Current.com titled "Gaymers," Flynn DeMarco, founder of Gaygamer.net, says the web is a great place to congregate and share ideas, but it can also be used as tool to harass and deal out considerable harm.

"Anonymity on the web can be a really good thing in some ways, but I think by and large it really creates an atmosphere where those people who feel like they can be really, really hateful, they have the veil of the internet to protect them," said DeMarco.

The short films' intro features real recorded audio from online multiplayer gameplay from Halo, Team Fortress 2, and other titles that's particularly telling. "I hope gay marriage never gets passed," notes one player, while several others quickly fire off a barrage of profanity deriding homosexual acts. Then there's the disturbing statement made by yet another gamer: "I want to shoot you right now. I want to hang you because you're gay. It's not nice but it's true." Ask yourself how many times you've heard similar comments during an online match.

DeMarco and others agree with freedom of expression, but they feel folks who feel the need to fire off offensive homophobic slurs and other anti-gay comments should do so in their own private spaces rather than in the public gaming forum. Last year, GayGamer.net was hacked and flooded with hate speech and threatening e-mails. It had to be shut down temporarily as a result.

Speaking in the video about issues with anonymity on the internet, Stanford University psychology professor Benoit Monin adds the web is a double-edged sword that can be used for different aims. "We can hope in a perfect world the internet would break down some barriers by enabling people to address head-on some of the prejudices people may or may not have," he said. "There's an aspect of hurting that's easier to do online, but it's possible to also do a lot of helping."

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I am not a homophobe or gaybasher, I'm perfectly comfortable around homosexuals, but I also believe that someone's sexual preference is not the kind of thing that A) matters in gaming, B) other players need or want to know. In my experience, most gaybashing I've seen (sans 4Chan) is brought about by some gay person declaring their sexual orientation where they should have just shut up. Not saying they can't be proud of who they are, not saying they shouldn't mention they're gay, but there are places where it's just not appropriate. I don't go around in BF1942 declaring to my whole team that I'm straight. It's not relevant and nobody cares. If you feel like you have to announce to the world what particular gender you like to hump, expect some backlash for it.

Sadly, it rarely requires much provocation. It can start with a random "You're a fag!" type of trash-talking remark from one player, and swiftly devolve into a veritable flood of anti-homosexual commentary. Some of it is made in jest and with no real malice behind it, but some of it can get very, very nasty.

I like gay people, all of the ones I've met so far are really nice and fun to be around, why wouldn't anyone want to game with them?

I find myself frequently taking the Xbox Live headset off when playing Halo as the banter frequently consists of bizarre, irrelevant or hateful nonsense. Anti-homosexual comments inevitably form part of this, particularly with younger players (though many older players i've encountered are equally misguided). Some of it quite similar to the things I indulged in at the playground when I was a kid, where 'gay' is more a general derogatory term rather than a way to criticise someone's sexuality. However, some is clearly very hateful and serious, but then many people have been brought up that way and don't know any better.

The ability to mute individual players is very useful, and I find teaming up with a group of people who actually want to play the game, and use the headset to discuss tactics and update team members (that's what the headset is actually intended for), tends to result in being mached to other teams and thus avoiding the rabble of immature fools who want to hide behind some sort of extreme online persona.

Having been on the receiving end of homphobic abuse both over Xbox Live, multiplayer PC games and indeed in real life, I know how these things escalate into outright bullying. I also know how much it hurts to be told to go back to fairyland on a regular basis by members of a gaming community.

It's the reason I stopped running a forum RP on an Xbox forum. After some really vicious homophobic remarks made buy one user (whom has since been banned but for an entirely different offence), I told her that I was homosexual, that her utterances had been exceedingly hurtful, and that she should leave the game. That was a real mistake.

Immediately, her internet friends started spamming the thread with homophobia and far-right polemics about the state of the world and how everything was going shit because of gays. One of the most hateful comments was this:

Some Xbox Forum Homophobe:
Sodom was destroyed for a reason, faggot!

What was the follow-up to that from another user?

Lol.

I'm glad I left there. Rant over.

Im not an homophobe and I dont intend to be. i have a bisexual and a gay friend, and theyre great people. when people think of gays they think they fall in love with every man/woman they see, but thats a lie. I hang out with girls and I dont (always) fall in love with them.

I don't use a headset much, but this sounds really bad. I thought in Britain at least, being gay is just about socially completely acceptable, but I grew up in a middle class area and live in one so it could be problem in other places or tiny villages or something

Khell_Sennet:
I am not a homophobe or gaybasher, I'm perfectly comfortable around homosexuals, but I also believe that someone's sexual preference is not the kind of thing that A) matters in gaming, B) other players need or want to know. In my experience, most gaybashing I've seen (sans 4Chan) is brought about by some gay person declaring their sexual orientation where they should have just shut up. Not saying they can't be proud of who they are, not saying they shouldn't mention they're gay, but there are places where it's just not appropriate. I don't go around in BF1942 declaring to my whole team that I'm straight. It's not relevant and nobody cares. If you feel like you have to announce to the world what particular gender you like to hump, expect some backlash for it.

That isn't what the video addressed though. The video is about gamers being punished because they are gay. Whether it's a case of a gamer receving abuse over XBL, or the whole gaygamer site being knocked out by hackers, they're being treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. It's outright homophobia, and it has no place in game sessions, or on forums. You can't simple say 'If you announce to the world what gender you like to hump, expect some backlash', as that's a gross assumption about how the topic is brought up. Some dude may simply tire of being called 'faggot', tell those insulting him that actually he is gay, then recive even more abuse because of it. Why should he be punished for making such a trivial statement?

As a white person who happens to not be gay, I treat the usage of "fag" the same way I treat the usage of the N-word. It holds similar power in that it is a term originated by a dominant group who wants to ridicule a minority.

asacatman:
I don't use a headset much, but this sounds really bad. I thought in Britain at least, being gay is just about socially completely acceptable, but I grew up in a middle class area and live in one so it could be problem in other places or tiny villages or something

I'm British too and in the real world I rarely come across homophobic behaviour but it is a pretty big issue online. Mostly it's American teenagers but not always. I've complained about some but I don't think Microsoft polices things well enough as i've also complained about people in the family zone swearing and being abusive while playing games with my nephew but nothing ever seems to get done about it.

Luckilly I rarely encounter homophobia in the games I play online.
Usually it's done by someone who is clearly around 12, along the lines of:
"LOL, u SuCK sooOOooo mUch U muSt b gAy l0l!"
With the general response from other plays being:
"Shut up you idiot."

Actually one of the best responses to this sort of thing I got on AoM online was playing doom lords (it's sort of an RPG, but because it's on an RTS you actually get epic battles as you can change stats, sizes, etc on the scenario maker... anyway I digress).
So, one immature guy was coming out with irritating jokes, gay references, "oh noes!" every time a few enemies came into our LOS, you know really pissing us off and not only that but he really really sucked at the game. And it's pretty hard to suck at this particular scenario.
So after a while a message pops up:
"I've set my chat filter to everyone except purple, he's really getting on my nerves and we have to keep saving him, I say we let him die."
So we did.

Anyway the point of the anecdote is that although there are some dicks in online gaming, there are good communities out there who don't put up with that bullshit.

Lol, Gaymers, that's a funny title.

You can't simple say 'If you announce to the world what gender you like to hump, expect some backlash',

Actually, you can. If I were to mention any opinion of mine to a random group of people, eventually I would come across at least one person who did not share that opinion. Eventually, I'd come across people who would hate me for said opinion of mine. By not making it an issue, I don't give them ammo.

1) People are idiots.
2) People are prejudiced.
3) People are prejudiced idiots.
4) The above three rules are always correct.

Most of this seems to revolve around XBox Live horror stories, and informing Live of your sexuality is like tying raw meat to your body and jumping into a lion enclosure. You'd think people would have learned by now that the opinion of someone who will never meet you--and more importantly, of someone who is easily muted--doesn't matter at all. Then again, I've got thicker skin than most people and a healthy dose of apathy--especially when it concerns the stupid.

d3stroyer427:
End of discussion.

Sorry, but that is the most uninformed comment I've ever seen on this forum. We feel this needs to be discussed. My brother in law is the nicest guy I know, and while he does not go about openly advertising it this kind of stuff kills him on XBL. He traded his 360 in for a Wii because of this BS.

This kind of crap needs to be discussed, because if it is not it will just continue. And frankly if you are white, heterosexual, and male and DON'T know you are at the top of the social food chain in America then I have some beachfront property in Montana to sell you.

d3stroyer427:
This thread is gay. Do you think I get offended every time I've been called a "cracker" or a "honkey" on video games? The answer is NO, so get the hell over it, or don't play. End of discussion.

P.S. Why is gay-bashing called "homophobic" all of a sudden? I don't call someone a fag because I am afraid of them (phobic is derived from PHOBIA, which is a fear), but it's because I strongly dislike them.

You ever been beaten up because you kissed your loved one?

Chances are, probably not.

I have. The reason? My lover, my best friend in the world, is the same gender as myself.

This is an interesting thread.

Internet anonymity reminds me of the theatrical trick of wearing a mask - once it's no longer your face, you totally lose whatever social inhibitions you may ordinarily have had. It's a shame that without these inhibitions, what comes out of people's mouths is hateful shite.

What I'm interested in now is, having watched that video, what the presence of female gamers are? I'm a girl who likes her games, and I have noticed a vaaaast quantity of gross attitudes towards chicks in gaming - I assume, and this is horrible of me, I know, that the attitudes that come across from other players (hitting on you, being overly sexual; that sort of thing) is because the people expressing them are adolescent.

Same goes for the homophobic insults. Teenagers at the stage in their life where they find out who they are, question who they are or what they're doing, and do that thing where they define belonging to a group by defining who doesn't belong.

(I feel disgustingly ageist now. I'm probably totally wrong. What's the main age group in the gaming community, I wonder? I always assumed it to be young people, like me, aged between about 14 and 20-thing. Does anyone have any statistics?)

VoIP in public games is awful. People are vicious little ticks; especially the young ones. I miss the restriction of forcing people to type what they say in live environments... cut down the idiocy to about an 8th of what you'd get on Xbox Live.

At any rate, I'm basically straight, so the whole gay issue isn't one I fret over much. That said, I think that vulgar sexual epiphets are just as distasteful as racial ones, but society at large seems to be more concerned with the latter.

I'd wager it would be more likely that a user would be banned for saying something to the effect of "I'm going to lynch you, nigger" than "hope you get AIDs, faggot". I hope that in time orientation or gender slurs become as taboo as racial slurs, since when they do it will follow that a lot more people will use their rights of speech with a greater sense of consequence. At least, in theory.

Susan Arendt:
Sadly, it rarely requires much provocation. It can start with a random "You're a fag!" type of trash-talking remark from one player, and swiftly devolve into a veritable flood of anti-homosexual commentary. Some of it is made in jest and with no real malice behind it, but some of it can get very, very nasty.

These days you kinda have to sort out what is blatant insulting versus an actual attack on someone's sexual orientation. "Fag" and the N-bomb are just generic insults these days, thrown at random by uncreative idiots who can't pick and choose a better-fitting insult for their target. Someone pops onto WoW and says "I was questing with this F'ing fag who stole all the loot", the word fag could just as easily be "asshole", "jerk" or "inbred cock-mongling sheep rapist".

If someone had given reason for others to truly believe and/or know their sexual orientation was that of a homosexual, then you can take the "fag" insult as its direct meaning, but as a randomly tossed curse, taking it personally is just stupid.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

they're being treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. It's outright homophobia, and it has no place in game sessions, or on forums. You can't simple say 'If you announce to the world what gender you like to hump, expect some backlash', as that's a gross assumption about how the topic is brought up. Some dude may simply tire of being called 'faggot', tell those insulting him that actually he is gay, then recive even more abuse because of it. Why should he be punished for making such a trivial statement?

Again, if you don't let your orientation become public knowledge, and don't take a generic insult so personally. If they don't know you're gay, then it's just them being ignorant with a word they don't use properly. If you HAVE told them you're gay, well shit, guess that wasn't so smart was it.

Being from a country where homosexuality is actually illegal and something like 99.99% of the population are extremely anti-homosexual (I use this term rather that homophobic because I believe that has more to do with a fear of homosexuals, not a hatred for them) I am happy to be one of the few who fit into the other 0.01% who really aren't bothered by it.

I have a couple of gay friends, and while I'll admit to feeling slightly uncomfortable if I see two guys kissing (We can't all be perfect) I can tolerate it and move on with my life. Gay bashing in online games is simply a result of the "Internet Fuckwad Theory" (Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad). It's no different than all the racism, sexism and general hatred toward others that goes on there.

I can't count the number of times I've heard white guys yelling the N-word and spewing disgusting racial slurs toward the black player(s) on a certain server, and of course this goes both ways. I've been called a 'cracker' more times that I can count and heard endless callings of "Yah mon", "Do you know Bob Marley?" and horrible impersonations of Jamaican accents (Which are extremely annoying and offensive) once my accent has been heard.

The same thing can be said about the male players insulting any females who have happened to join the game. Really it's no different. People want to stand out, they want to be remembered, they want people to think they're cool. And what's the easiest way to get noticed if you're not a particularly great player? Insult people. That's all it is, they want attention, and the more disgusting, rude and offensive the things they say are, the more attention they get. I think if we all just ignored them, they'll eventually get bored and stop. Treat them like you would annoying, little children. Because in a way that's really all they are.

It's people like that who made me stop using my headset in most online games, and muting anyone who I didn't know (Namely people on my friends list).

d3stroyer427:
This thread is gay. Do you think I get offended every time I've been called a "cracker" or a "honkey" on video games? The answer is NO, so get the hell over it, or don't play. End of discussion.

P.S. Why is gay-bashing called "homophobic" all of a sudden? I don't call someone a fag because I am afraid of them (phobic is derived from PHOBIA, which is a fear), but it's because I strongly dislike them.

You, sir, represent all that is wrong with game chat. You assume that everyone of worth wants to wallow in the same slime-pit you do, and that everyone else is some sort of second-rate chunk of meat.

You are the reason gaming has a bad reptuation. Yes, you. Take your petty hatreds and keep 'em to yourself, bigot-boi, because I'm sick of having the popular image of gaming dragged through the muck by the likes of you.

Everyone else, please use whatever reporting mechanism is available to let administrators know whrn game communication is being abused. Get the bigots pushed out of public gaming and onto their own little servers, away from everyone else, and I think gaming online would be a lot more pleasant for everyone, straight or gay or male or female or whatever.

-- Steve

Not being a particularly hard core gamer (and given our xbox is in the the living room and my father refuses to let me play with it :() i dont know any of the issues on the headset. but knowing what a lot of gamers are like especially those on thing like XBL it's not that surprising 'gay' is used as an insult. I dont tend to take that one to heart though, there not usually directing it at me/you it more of a general comment on how something is gay. which in itself IS offensive and wrong...but i just feel sorry for them. they are clearly stupid and have no class.

TBH i spend a lot of time in 'gay friendly' areas of the internet...so i don't tend to run into homophobia or 'gay-bashing' that much. And again i tend to just laugh at the ignorance of people. I find it more upsetting when people i know make comments, especially those that know i'm bi-sexual. I'm not asking them to be super nice around me or anything but certains things just don't need to be said making generalised statements and crude jokes about mostly incorrect stereotypes is just annoying, stupid and quite upsetting (especially in my case where it was a family member, whom i had regarded as being a close friend as well)

The problem with the internet and gaming is the anonymity (4chan is an excellent example) people can hide behind the fact you're most likely never going to meet the person your insulting. I imagine most people posting or saying these things wouldn't be quite so upfront if they were in an actual room with the people.

Khell_Sennet has a point though...theres really no need to mention you sexuality, yes i feel it does define part of who i am, but, for me at least, it doesn't define my entirety. I don't form opinions on people because they are straight or a different race or religion so being gay is also irrelevent, especially on the web or in game. You shouldn't really have to expect backlash for telling people but at the end of the day that's just how things work.

Sometimes i really do think people make a point of telling others so they CAN get all worked up and angsty over it, if someone asks me whether im gay or not, i won't lie. but i don't go around shoving it in your face. But then if you ask and get the answer yes, i shouldn't have to put up with homophobic comments.

it'd be weird if i hated gays since everyone thinks i am one. however, it is not possible for me to hate an entire group of people. We should only hate individuals.

I have nothing against homosexuals, however I do believe that anyone who brags about their sexuality over the internet is asking for ridicule.

Usige Beatha:
I have nothing against homosexuals, however I do believe that anyone who brags about their sexuality over the internet is asking for ridicule.

Amen, and second on Religion, Political Alignment, and their love or hate of any celeb.

I completly support this video and , though I am not usally bothered by what some prepubescent american is sceeching about over XBL as I have that lovley mute button I still think it would be much better if it didn't happen at all sadly with the obscurity of the internet you can't bring homophobes or racists to justice (unlike in real life) but its good that people are trying to stop it

Khell_Sennet:

Usige Beatha:
I have nothing against homosexuals, however I do believe that anyone who brags about their sexuality over the internet is asking for ridicule.

Amen, and second on Religion, Political Alignment, and their love or hate of any celeb.

Again agreed, and especially if they come up with a ridiculous title that spouts their own form of elitism. I've been persecuted for being gay in the past(despite being as hetero as they come (pun intended), and I don't think there's a 'support group' for me.

Haters will just use whatever tag is handy, rather than appropriate. If there was enough research put into WHY these people hate, then we could perhaps start working on a soloution.

Khell_Sennet:

Again, if you don't let your orientation become public knowledge, and don't take a generic insult so personally. If they don't know you're gay, then it's just them being ignorant with a word they don't use properly. If you HAVE told them you're gay, well shit, guess that wasn't so smart was it.

So....shut up and get back in the closet then; is that it?

Khell_Sennet:

Usige Beatha:
I have nothing against homosexuals, however I do believe that anyone who brags about their sexuality over the internet is asking for ridicule.

Amen, and second on Religion, Political Alignment, and their love or hate of any celeb.

*facepalm*

You two geniuses realize that people typically don't brag about their sexuality, right? That what's happening is some dingbat makes an offensive remark, the offended party makes their displeasure known, and then they get assaulted for it?

Also, the "asking for ridicule" bit is so incredibly ass backwards I don't know where to begin.

Texian:

Khell_Sennet:

Again, if you don't let your orientation become public knowledge, and don't take a generic insult so personally. If they don't know you're gay, then it's just them being ignorant with a word they don't use properly. If you HAVE told them you're gay, well shit, guess that wasn't so smart was it.

So....shut up and get back in the closet then; is that it?

Never said that, so don't put words in my mouth.

Sexuality is a private matter, yes it defines who you are, but it is something that really should only be discussed with you significant other and sometimes very close family matters. Who you fuck, man woman or farm animal, is not a public conversation topic. It has nothing to do with remaining in the closet, and I find a lot of gays don't grasp that. Straight people don't feel this need to go out and announce to strangers that they are straight, so why is it such a big deal that gays feel they must?

Bottom line is that if you go out and publicly announce that you are different from the norm, not saying the difference is good or bad, but you are different and choose to publicly announce or display it, there will be a small group of people who call you out for it. Does anyone here need to know you're gay? Did they ASK if you are gay? If no, then why do you create the problem by announcing something we didn't want to know.

And just an observation on human behavior, but a large chunk of people who ARE homophobic or anti-gay are that way because of how in-your-face some gays are. Gays will never be truly accepted socially by 100% of the population, it's sad but true. But the less flamboyant and gay-prider you are about your preference, the more accepted you will be. I have no issues with gay couples, gay marriage, or gay adoption. I do have issues with gay pride parades, public groping/making out (gay or straight) and any subculture that shoves their ways in your face. So what may come off as homophobia or gay bashing is in fact my distaste for rude behavior, not their sexual preference.

Well i think now this shits going to get intresting by introducing:
TADA, the Homophobic...

Oh dont get me wrong, I´m the real type, the type that doesn´t insult and/or hate gay and bisexual people, but feel uncomfortable with physical contact by people of the same sex.
Because Homophobia is the fear of gays or becoming gay, not the hate...its called "Anti Semitism" not "Semitphobia" so i guess the word youre all searching for is "Anti-homo" or something.

Well, i cant really partake in this conversation, because you can´t imagine how i would simply not care.
Putting fuel into a fire is NEVER a good idea, so when someone comes up and sais "You´re a frigging Nazi!" i dont even react.
Don´t feed the trolls they say, and its a good saying.

I´ve seen the bashing of the furry fandom (and recieved some for some reason<.<) and its not nice, but getting insulted by a person on the internet and then taking it personal is one of the most unnecessary things ever.
Mute your headset, leave the game, whatever if you can´t stand it, but i hate, HATE those whiners...
Its the Internet, we should be used to idiots like that but STILL threads like this appear, whining about how they recieve so much bashing by everyone else...
You will NEVER find a game (unless its friends only) where you wont get bashed when you tell someone you are gay.

Live and let live, don´t care about their vocal-drooling, just ignore them.

Khell_Sennet:
Straight people don't feel this need to go out and announce to strangers that they are straight...

Reeeeeeally? So talking about a hot girl's ass isn't a loud-n-proud proclamation of testosterone-laden heterosexuality?

Khell_Sennet:
so why is it such a big deal that gays feel they must?

Because often times their announcement is nothing more out-of-place than what heterosexual males espouse on a daily basis. See: prior example about ass, hot girl it is attached to.

Khell_Sennet:
If no, then why do you create the problem by announcing something we didn't want to know.

I didn't want to know someone was a head-up-the-ass bigot....so why am I, or any other gay person for that matter, to blame for causing the problem? They told me something I didn't want to know, so didn't they actually create the problem?

Khell_Sennet:
And just an observation on human behavior, but a large chunk of people who ARE homophobic or anti-gay are that way because of how in-your-face some gays are.

I'd like to see a study on this that you must be referencing instead of pulling it out of your ass; it looks like a excellent material for a thesis on "Blaming the victim". Until then, I believe the phrase is "ROTFLMFAO".

Khell_Sennet:
But the less flamboyant and gay-prider you are about your preference, the more accepted you will be.

This is patently false. People hate homos for being homos. Sure, the Jack-types may grate on them more, but the big, butch, "straight-acting" bears are hated just as much and would be fired/harassed/killed with equal fervor and delusions of impunity on the parts of the haters.

Khell_Sennet:
I do have issues with gay pride parades, public groping/making out (gay or straight) and any subculture that shoves their ways in your face. So what may come off as homophobia or gay bashing is in fact my distaste for rude behavior, not their sexual preference.

So you hate Mardi Gras too, right? That's all pride parades are - gay Mardi Gras.

Goodbye Mr. Heterophobe.

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