The explosive growth of online gaming communities in recent years has created amazing opportunities to go head-to-head against all kinds of players from around the world. But the vast freedom and flexibility of online play on consoles and PC has also given rise to something more insidious – a new place for bigotry and homophobia to manifest and thrive.
A little competitive banter over text or voice chat is all but expected when gaming with strangers. However, it's becoming increasingly difficult to play games online without encountering derisive homophobic comments or other hateful speech. Homophobic slurs – whether intentionally derisive or not – have become ingrained in the lexicon of many gamers, and the level of outright anti-gay sentiments and harassment tends to multiply substantially when other players discovers there's a gay gamer in their midst. For the average straight player, one person spouting homophobic obscenities can ruin the experience, but take a moment to consider the impact this can have on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender gaming community.