The problem with the above video (beyond the response to the name) is the name itself. The player advertised himself as gay. In almost any online space, this can be a headache. One does not have to display their sexuality in their handle in order to receive this treatment though.
When I last took up World of Warcraft, I recall an instance when I was playing my Blood Elf Paladin. Unfortunately, at certain points while grinding through the levels, one comes across some armor for the legs that act as short shorts, which look less than ‘masculine’ on a Blood Elf (who already isn’t winning many points on traditional masculinity).
On the goblin blimp from Undercity to Orgrimmar I had another male Blood Elf toon accost me, starting to call me a faggot and less kind terms. Sighing in real life, I pointed out the logic that his toon was no more masculine seeming than mine.
Appealing to such logic with these people rarely works, however.
When playing an MMO I do not advertise my sexuality. Frankly, it doesn’t concern anyone playing the game. Yet, invariably it comes up in some manner or other, either in an overt discussion or subtle hints that I do not drop.
Yesterday I had one of those ‘Oh, duh’ moments while reading David Coad’s The Metrosexual: Gender, Sexuality, and Sport (due to its cover, I’m very self conscious while reading this in public–though largely because his nipple seems so obscene and photoshopped). I picked it up from the feminist book store up the street from my apartment because I thought I would see if: I could find any parallels to either game characters we see and how we sexualize them and/or explanations for how males react to the competitive aspects of gaming. I have yet to read past the first chapter (I cracked its spine yesterday), but within his introduction Coad makes a statement that is very simple and has always been at the back of my mind, yet which I never vocalized.
One of the reasons I out myself when I play in an online space is because I do not assert my heterosexuality. There are no comments about a girlfriend or which females I may find sexually desirable. There are no cues in which I assert that yes, I am a straight male not associated with homosexuality at all. Coad’s particular argument is on the sexualization of our athletes and how to not have a girlfriend, wife, female lover or not to brag about one’s prowess in some manner is to open up the problem of a homosocial environment–here there be queers.
It’s quite a leap to assume that a homosocial bond will always produce homosexual acts. However, hardcore gaming (including the realm of MMOs) is still considered a ‘man’s’ sport. Despite the fact that I probably know more females playing the big MMOs than I do males (personal anecdotes do not a statistic make), perception is one of those things that can be difficult to change.
The other way in which I out myself in online spaces is a refusal to ‘correct the insult’ that I am queer. Yes, it would save me a lot of headache. Yes, I am asking for further idiotic comments when I defend myself. No, I do not see compromising for the sake of it.
I do enjoy my mother’s response to the ‘that’s so gay’ comments she comes across in MMOs (yet another way in which I happen to illustrate my not-so-straight tendencies), “My son is gay and I would appreciate if you didn’t make such idiotic statements.”