Xbox Live now allowing gay, religious gamertags

Microsoft updates terms of service to allow acknowledgement of sexual orientation, faith, race, and nationality in usernames and profiles.

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Microsoft is revoking its own version of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy when it comes to Xbox Live. The Xbox 360 maker today updated the terms of use and code of conduct agreement for its online service to allow users to include mention of their sexual orientation, religion, nationality, and race in their gamertags and user profiles.

You can't put a price on free speech, so consider Microsoft's $10 fee for changing gamertags a ballpark estimate.
You can't put a price on free speech, so consider Microsoft's $10 fee for changing gamertags a ballpark estimate.

Previously, such information was not allowed on Xbox Live as a way to head off potential conflicts, insults, and slurs. In announcing the policy change, a Microsoft representative said that the company realized the old standard "inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox Live community."

While the rules have been relaxed, Microsoft has said the remaining restrictions will be more stringently enforced. According to the company's new terms of use, gamers may use the words "lesbian," "gay," "bi," "transgender," or "straight" to describe sexual orientation on their profiles, but only those words.

As for other restrictions, Microsoft does not allow content "that other users may be offended by," whether due to profanity, hate speech, or references to illegal drugs. Furthermore, Xbox Live users aren't allowed to create "a gamertag, profile content, or in-game content that references controversial religious topics, notorious people, organizations, or sensitive current or historical events that may also be considered inappropriate."

Gamers interested in flexing their new liberties can change their existing Xbox Live gamertags for the standard fee of 800 Microsoft points ($10) under the Edit Profile menu of the My Xbox section of the system's dashboard.

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