Sanya Weathers is one of the more outspoken Community Managers in the game industry, and she has represented some of the more vocal gaming communities in the biz (DAoC anyone?). On her personal blog, Sanya has posted an pledge for gaming CMs to stop homophobia on the forums they represent.
So, speaking of help: Help me, fellow mods and CMs. (And help me, players, by reporting and not responding when you see it.) We’ve got to stop tolerating homophobia in our communities. I’m not saying we have to go and get gay married. You don’t even have to support an agenda of any kind. All you have to do is say that you will not permit one of your customers to call another one of your customers a faggot.
Here is my pledge:
If you’re young and LGBT, I want you to know that gaming is getting better. In any community that I run, you will not be called names if you choose to be open about your identity and orientation. I will not allow the use of homophobic slurs, either at you or near you. I will not work for an employer who does not have my back on this. My forums are a safe place where you are not “other.” You are not alone. You are, always and forever, one of us.
We are often quick to blame the players for the insults they sling at each other without thought of who they might be hurting. But a big part of the responsibility should come down on the game companies who allow this kind of language to be used without repercussions. If it no longer is okay for them to post homophobic slurs on official forums and blogs, players will learn to think twice about what they’re saying.
While Sanya’s pledge is very admirable, I’d like to extend this a bit further. Gaming communities are overflowing with all sorts of hate speech, so why stop at anti-gay slurs? Let’s do away with ableism (calling things ‘lame’), sexism (insulting the women within game communities), rape culture (no more using the word ‘rape’ as a euphemism for ‘pwn’), transphobia, and racism. If we really want to make gaming communities inclusive, we need to quit allowing people to insult members of the community through stereotypes, slurs, and triggers.