Microsoft, gay rights group, discuss policies on Xbox Live

Microsoft have came under fire a lot from the gay community over the last few years following the policies they impose on Xbox Live. However it seems like the company are trying to make amends and are now in talks with a gay rights group, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), in order to solve the issues as detailed in this new article from Kotaku.

In Larry Hryb's (aka Major Nelson) most recent podcast, he and Stephen Toulouse gave some more detail on the situation:

"I can't talk about what we discussed specifically except to say that we provided them with a lot of information about what we do today, why we do what we do and how we do it. And then we asked them the question, 'How can we do this better?' And we have some ideas. Here are some ideas. That dialog was super, super helpful. I think it was a great engagement. Justin and Jeffrey who came out from GLAAD really appreciated the effort that we're putting into it - and had great ideas, like they brought up some stuff we hadn't thought of."

The talks follow after gamers who provided details on their sexual preference in their profile or used an inappropriate gametag, which breaks the terms of service of Xbox Live, were banned. The policies detail that you cannot have a sexual term in your gamertag, regardless of sexual orientation.

More recently, Microsoft's first party studio Lionhead have made the headlines after Jamie Durrant, a former employee, sued the company for £45,000 in "hurt feelings" and lost pay claiming he was discriminated against over his sexual orientation. Earlier this month Microsoft settled the tribunal and made the following statement:

"We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution to this matter with Mr. Durrant. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but we can confirm that Mr. Durrant will not continue his employment at Lionhead as part of the agreement. Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to diversity. We attract, recruit and respect diverse talent and we have included sexual orientation in our anti-discrimination policies for 20 years. Our efforts have been recognised by a wide range of groups, including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its 2009 Corporate Equality Index. We do not tolerate breaches of our code of business conduct and take any complaints extremely seriously. Throughout this process, those to whom Mr. Durrant brought his concerns have taken them seriously and concrete actions have been taken to address them. Neither Mr. Durrant's sexual orientation nor the nature of his complaint had any bearing on the way it was handled."

Larry Hryb also detailed a fourth coming announcement of the Xbox Live policy and their work with GLAAD during the podcast:

"I would recommend to any business who's tackling these issues, they're a great group to work with. The GLAAD folk totally understand a variety of things; they're really great to work with. They want to enable communities to be safer. They just want to enable communities to be safer - that's what my team tries to do as well, so it was a great thing.

We'll plan to say something about [GLAAD and Xbox LIVE policy] in the future."

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