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Rambling Geek

Why write a sentence when a paragraph can do?

Author: EvilGeek

Is it gay ?

Posted by EvilGeek Monday July 12 2010 at 2:28PM
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When confronted with the inevitable 'that's so gay' in the gaming world (and RL) I find it best to ask a simple question:

Is it in a same sex relationship or is it just frivolously happy?

If the response is 'nah it's just crap' (which is always what is meant) then the next question is  'so then you think gay people are crap?', and to be truthful not once have I heard somebody reply w th a positive to that one and will likely vehemently deny any heterosexism.

So if the vast majority deny any hateful intent then what's the problem? Language is important, the more a word is used in a particular context the more it means that, in this particular respect it provides ammunition and a feeling of support to those who are actually homophobic, in a world where people are violently murdered everyday just because of their sexuality should we really be encouraging prejudice by acceptance of what has become a relatively harmless turn of phrase? Obviously my answer to that one is no, we shouldn't accept it and we should remind people what they are actually saying and contributing to.


In the game world we have this rather large phenomena of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, Bi, Transgender) guilds, look in any MMO deep enough and they will be there. These guilds aren't created with online dating or cyber sex in mind, they are forced in to existence so people can relax and not put up with bigotted remarks. It's sad that any particularly group feels the need to exclude itself from the wider community and it's even sadder that it's done for those reasons. It's obvious then that to a significant part of the LGBT community that using gay as a way of saying crap has more meaning than the casual
user of the term thinks, so what about game companies?

From WoW's ToS
"(i) Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;"

From NCSoft's end user agreement
"take any action or upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit any content as determined by NC Interactive at its sole discretion that is harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; or contains any viruses, trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancel bots or other computer programming routines that are intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or personal information"

From Eve's ToS
2.You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language. (Alternate spelling or partial masking of such words will be reprimanded in the same manner as the actual use of such words.)

3. You may not organize nor be a member of any corporation or group within EVE Online that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies


 From those three examples alone it's obvious that homophobic behaviour is against the EULA/ToS, so why is the use of the word gay as a meaning for something crap still acceptable and used in those games? I answered that earlier myself, so many don't mean it as that and they fail to realise that by using it they support real anti gay behaviour.

Blizzards ToS is most telling of what's wrong - "Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive" Blizzard and any other company can happily take the view that the usage of the word gay in this context isn't implicit in its homophobia, they are right if they choose to bury their head in the sand just as the perpetrators who don't think about what they are fuelling do.

IMHO it's about time game companies actually lived up to their user agreements and terms of service and treated homophobia in exactly the same way they treat racism and sexism in game, it is within their power, the problem is that without a significant move from the game communities they won't act, while the community says 'it's ok I'm not really homophobic, it's just a phrase' then they aren't going to spend on GM/Community powers to curb it. It's got to be a two way street.

 Personally I look at discrimination on any grounds as a failure to value the freedom and equality of others based on either fear or irrational hatred. If your discriminating against somebody for any other reason than because they are a bad person then your doing it wrong.

Teala writes: Well said!   Mon Jul 12 2010 4:03PM Report
EvilGeek writes: Thanks Teala, it was your blog piece about realid and transgender that got me thinking and inspired this blog, thnx twice :) Mon Jul 12 2010 4:49PM Report
thanto writes: Linguistics fail.  Meanings of words change with time and context.  Gay actually means "good, happy, joyful, etc."  It has other meanings in slang, namely "bad" and "homosexual".  Conflating as you are now results in contradiction - "gay" cannot mean both good and bad simultaneously. By the way, did you know that "chode" is the past tense of "chide"?  Given that knowledge, how would you respond to someone asking in game chat, "suck my chode"?  Would you respond in confusion at the combination of a penis and having chided someone in the past?  Surely the two are the same because the same word is used for both!  Yeah, language doesn't work that way. Mon Jul 12 2010 8:13PM Report
EvilGeek writes: thanto - your point being?  Despite your use of language there is no denying that it is offensive to gay people to use the word gay continually in a negative context in a public environment. Tue Jul 13 2010 3:28AM Report

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