Xbox Live Now Allows 'Gay' and Other Orientation Terms in Gamertags, Online Profiles

Four months after allowing Rockstar to launch "The Ballad of Gay Tony" (a downloadable add-on for Grand Theft Auto IV) on Xbox 360, Microsoft has tweaked the "Code of Conduct" for its online Xbox Live service so that users can incorporate terms of "relationship orientation," such as "gay," into their online handles and profiles.

"You may use the following terms to express your relationship orientation in your profile or Gamertag: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Straight," the revision declares.

Under the old policy, use of such phrasing was considered "offensive" and resulted in said accounts being banned from Xbox Live--notable examples include "theGAYERgamer" and "RichardGaywood", the latter being someone's actual legal name--with the ensuing controversy sparking an apology and the eventual change.

"Special thanks to GLAAD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] and Microsoft's LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender] community for guidance on the terms," Xbox Live policy director Stephen Toulouse wrote on Twitter alongside word of the revision, adding "If you try typing in any of the the approved terms into your profile, you should find they are not blocked...[but] we're still sweeping the system for variations of the words so it might not be for a few days that all spellings, phrases, etc are done."