Captain Obvious: Online players like to say ‘gay’ a lot

In another example of shocking news related to studies, a recent gaming survey on the homophobia that permeates the video game landscape says that a majority of online players use the words “that’s so gay” or another form of “gay bashing” in their time spent shooting people in the face. From Next-Gen:

88% of respondents said they had heard the phrase “that’s so gay” while 84% said they had heard ‘gay’ used in a derogatory fashion. Over 50% said they felt that games portray gay people in a stereotypical way, while 42% believe gays are under-represented in games. 15% said the industry creates a culture where gay employees “feel like they must stay in the closet”. 52% believed that the gaming community is hostile to gay and lesbian gamers. Only 9% said they “never” encounter anti-gay sentiments from online gamers.

Did we really need a study to tell us something like this? Halo is notorious for this kind of behavior and anyone who’s played video games online in the past decade certainly hears this kind of talk for just about every minute of play.

What do you expect to happen when you gather a bunch of socially-inept boys behind the safety of a keyboard and make them feel like a man for 15 minutes because they have a virtual rifle in their hands? It’s not to say we condone this sort of idiocy, but for the most part it’s just mindless babble from youngin’s that just don’t know any better. Or really, it’s just the way of talking for most young boys who use the phrases “that’s gay” or “your gay” because they’re not smart enough to come up with original insults.

What’s your take on the issues that plague online gaming when it comes to hate speech or potential hate speech? Should we just pass it off as normal male immaturity or is it a huge problem that deserves more attention?

Robert Summa