Yesterday we linked to a video made by a gamer who, after selecting a suit of pink body armor and the handle "xxxGayBoyxxx", found himself the target of some pretty nasty anti-gay comments while playing Halo 3 online. (If you haven’t seen the video, it’s included after the jump, but be wary of NSFW language.) We contacted the gamer to ask him a few questions about the video …
AfterElton.com: So what gave you the idea of picking pink body armor and the xxxGayBoyxxx handle for Halo 3? Was it strictly an experiment?
GayBoy: I bought my Xbox 360 the day Halo 3 came out and it’s the only game I
play. I started off with an ordinary gamertag and although I would
regularly hear gay slurs, it wasn’t incessant, nor was it directed
towards me. I then changed my name to something gayer, but still
ambiguous, and that’s when things started getting uglier. That’s when
I decided to change my gamertag, be proud, "come out", and start
recording. Oh, I’ve always had the pink suit.
AE: Are you yourself gay?
GB: Yes, very gay.
AE: Do you think Halo 3 is a game that would particularly attract homophobic players? Maybe in World of Warcraft you could find some nice gay-friendly tinkers to hang with?
GB: My roommate is always on WoW and is part of gay guild. He hears the stuff that I go through and keeps trying to convert me onto WoW. Apparently it’s a friendlier place. Just 2 nights ago, someone said a gay joke on WoW and practically everyone verbally reprimanded him.
AE: What’s the response been like to the video, aside from gay journalists bothering you with Q&A requests?
GB: My email account is flooded! Gay and straight people are sending in positive words. Most want to know why I did this. Some even say I was asking to be verbally bashed. I’d like to answer this. Yes, not everything in the video was said with hate. I can take a joke, and I never took offense to what was said in it. My purpose for this video was only to raise awareness. Next time someone is interacting with a gay person, even an obvious one that has gay written all over him/her, that they be sensible. Gays aren’t asking for it, that’s just who they are, and unlike me, they may in fact be hurt by the comments.
AE: Do you have a particular favorite moment of the video? I mean, it’s all so charming…
GB: One thing you may not realize because the names are blurred, is that the 3rd clip, where I’m told I will burn in hell, was said by one of meaner players I had encountered on Xbox Live. But after playing a few games and actually talking a bit with him, he befriended me, now we play online a lot, and in one of the last clips in the video, he and his friend are defending me. Aren’t straight allies the best?
AE: The video description makes a reference to "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell". Do you think your experience reinforces that concept?
GB: I don’t think I can answer that. I’m not in the armed forces, I think things are different on the frontlines when your life could depend on this gay guy.
AE: Any words of advice for gay gamers looking to have fun without being attacked or ridiculed? Can you be open and have fun gaming?
GB: Be gay, be pink, and if you’re harassed, just laugh it off. There are great features in Xbox Live that allow you to mute, boot, or report a player, so you have those options if it comes to that. My best suggestion is make some friends online, stick together, and if you can, kick your harassers’ butts and see who has the last laugh.