back to article MS bashes Gay(wood) Xbox Live gamer

A Brit gamer has fallen foul of an Xbox live policy that disallows any apparent references to the Friends of Dorothy in gamertags. Xbox Live screengrab showing that Gaywood is no longer allowed Microsoft recently ruled "theGAYERgamer" well offside, and quickly moved to deal with Reg reader Richard Gaywood's online moniker, …


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  1. Eponymous Cowherd


    They still allow Mike Huntiswet......

    Still to try Ben Doone and Phil McAvity.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    "Dick Gaywood"- poor sod.

    You would have thought that the parents could have tried harder.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    The Register reporters were found today lying in the streets with bleeding fingers having tried to desperately scrape the bottom of the barrel for XBox trolls until their fingers bled.

    Really, "Automated name-filtering software catches person with potentially offensive word in their name/nickname". This hasn't been news for at least 10 years now.

    Similarly, I'm sure if you make an account called Edwin Fuckface or Roger Twatcunt or something on most online services it'll be picked up. On the same note, if you make an account called Gareth SuckMyMassiveW4ng it probably wont be picked up. Thus is the nature of automated filtering.

  4. Iain Waddingham
    Thumb Down

    Make up your mind MS!

    So first MS cannot wait to offend it's users:

    But now they will go to ridiculous lengths to stop anything they deem inappropriate!

    Think I will stick with my PS3 anyway, that way if Sony blocked my name (if it was remotely offensive to any companies) I would not have been paying for it - which I think would make the Live service a more customised service and would try to keep their customers happy!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >You would have thought that the parents could have tried harder.

    Yeah, Randolph Richard Gaywood perhaps?

  6. Mike Taylor

    Gay Search anyone?

  7. MET

    Thinking internationally

    This reminded me of the wonderfully named 'Randy Bender' (literally meaning horny homosexual for those outside the UK) who was heavily linked several years ago. El reg even did an article on it but sadly the link is no longer valid. Googling 'randy bender' nowadays seems to bring up a long list of namesakes.

    I worked with a 'Randy Winkel' once, which is almost as similarly amusing.

  8. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: In other news...

    Thank you for the feedback, Allowicious Smythe-Jones St Penisface. We always appreciate it.

    Oh, sorry, you meant to post anonymously, didn't you? Tsk, buttermodfingers!

  9. Dave
    Paris Hilton


    Mike Huntiswet - I LOVE that - superb.

    When I was at college, I was in a class with a girl from Eastern Europe called Annette Kurtin - That is a real name, but still her nickname was "beefy" . . . . .

    Mine's the flasher Mac in the corner.

    P.S. an obvious one, but Paris, cos we have all seen her beefy curtains !

  10. Nevland
    IT Angle

    Account was live

    That error seems to imply that the gamertag was allowed, then was revoked at a later stage.

    If so, this would be due to people taking offence and reporting him, sadly if someone gets enough complaints about their gamertag (there is an automatic complaints option for gamertag names) then they are automatically invalidated.

    XBox staff should make more of an effort to have a human input on these things, afterall, XBox live is a subscription based service.

  11. Shinobi87

    @ sarah bee : Re: In other news...

    i belive the term for this sort of act is "owned" nice work sarah!

  12. Steve Evans

    God help...

    ..anyone from Scunthorpe.

  13. radian

    @ AC (In other news... )

    Blimey! Calm down, you're not bein forced to read this.

    oh bugger, the boss is calling me, I'll finish this comment later.

  14. Rob Aley

    Re In other news...

    >Really, "Automated name-filtering software catches person with potentially

    >offensive word in their name/nickname". This hasn't been news for at least 10

    >years now.

    That may not be news, but this is. "Gay" is NOT an offensive word. Welcome to the 21st century, Microsoft may enter it soon, too.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the internet

    Not available to residents of Scunthorpe

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft hate gays!

    Clearly they must! What haters!! And why did this poor bloke get his real name banned?? They must like being nasty!!


  17. Richard Gaywood

    Hey, I'm on The Reg again

    Heya all.

    Just to clarify a few points -- yes, my tag was allowed and then revoked, I've been using it without problems since Jan 2007. Yes, this decision is made by a human and not automated, as confirmed by the Microsoft rep on his blog:

    Yes, I was teased growing up. Yes, I got over it :oD

  18. Iain Waddingham

    @Dave - Genius

    Didn't Annette Kurtin run off with Wayne Kerr? :-)

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    Where does he live?


    Also note that I'm pretty sure that in Ameriglish "gay wood" would mean "arsebandit's hard-on", so their filter's probably objecting to the unfortunate juxtaposition (for Septic software) here rather than being a drooling, fascist homophobe.

  20. Mr Chris

    Richard - gay? Would!

    Good to see you're famous for a good reason now, mate. ;-)

  21. Neil Docherty


    Surely Microsoft classing the word 'gay' is offensive is against the law on the ground of discrimination. It's not an offensive term for homosexuality (especially in this case where it's in the blokes name) like queer or faggot but Microsoft seems to be saying it is. Would a username mentioning race or ethnicity be banned (e.g. Indian or black)? If not, surely this shouldn't be.

    Also, do they filter the letters 'ass' from usernames which most people would agree is swearing (admittedly very mild swearing)?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've similar experience with Hotmail

    This article reminds me of an incident with MS Hotmail several years ago. I was trying to register an account with my real name. As my last name "Maila" begins with "Mail...", Hotmail decided it's an invalid choice for the last name. The error message I got was funny. "Invalid last name. Please change your last name". Well, as you might guess, I didn't change my last name but chose another email provider.

  23. Elmer Phud


    No support from the Reg readers for people with a first name of 'Gay'?

    Apart from the female use so far I can only think of 'Gay Burns' sp? the Irish TV host.

    The fairly childlike attitude towards folks with the word 'gay' somewhere in the name sort of reinforces M$'s stance on their filtering if all they can hear is sniggering at the back of the class

  24. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    The Ass in Class

    @ Neil Docherty

    When Sun introduced naughty word filtering on their Java forums they did, indeed, filter the word 'ass'.

    You can imagine the fun that caused..........

  25. Rob

    My mate

    had "yougay sodd" as his gamertag for ages and never heard anything, he's not online now though so I don't know if they expire or anything,

  26. RichardB

    The number of times

    I've been banned for using the common name Wang in online communities...

  27. Rob


    also, a girl at our college (a few years ago now) was called Jenny Taylor, many people took a lot longer to get it than i did,

  28. Erwin Blonk

    That's why Iron Maiden's singer never plays on Xbox Live

    Poor Bruce.

  29. Chris Walker

    Redundant yet amusing emphasis

    "literally meaning horny homosexual for those outside the UK"

    I'm genuinely flabbergasted (I'm having a faux Victoriana day) at the need for the word 'literally' in that explaination... :)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Welcome to the internet

    For years if you wanted to signup with AOL and lived in Scunthorpe you had to be a bit more creative with your address as it wouldn't let you, got to the point where it made the front page of the local rag.

    There's a Randy Bush works for one of the network operators in America, always makes me smile.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm Re. Discrimination...

    I wonder how Richard Blackwood gets on with his Xbox live account

  32. TrishaD

    I cant work out...

    If this is rampant homophobia or the sort of mimsiness that made the Victorians refer to 'limbs' rather than 'legs',,,,,

    And given the fact that my 11 yr old grandson uses 'gay' as a sort of general purpose adjective for people he considers rather feeble (like his older brother), I'm not sure which children these folks are trying to protect from such wicked words

  33. Jimster71


    Jenny Taylor - [snigger]

    I've seen many a person on forums who hail from "S****horpe".

  34. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Re: In other news

    "Really, 'Automated name-filtering software catches person with potentially offensive word in their name/nickname'. This hasn't been news for at least 10 years now."

    I disagree. The technique was surely discredited beyond redemption almost as soon as it was first deployed and anyone still using it must have spent the last decade or more in a coma. Why are they now heading up one of Microsoft's biggest developments?

    IT angle: Knowing this much about their project management, can we trust *anything* else from Microsoft?

  35. Chris Morrison


    I know someone called Gay. She was introduced to my wife recently to which my wife thought she was being a bit forward:

    "Hi I'm Gay.."

    "I'm Stephanie, and I'm married thank you."

    Made me smile for weeks!

  36. Scott

    @Iain Waddingham

    Was it this Wayne Kerr? Seems to run his own electronics business....

  37. Steve Heal
    Paris Hilton

    I prefer the old MS

    This is from the same company that slipped:

    Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz

    into fontview.exe

    Paris, she's more swan than jackdaw but my sphinx doesn't discriminate!

  38. Dalek13

    Innuendo-based filtering?

    So does this mean that all names with even the feintest whiff of innuendo will be filtered from now?

    What of the many 'Blackwoods', 'Hiscocks', 'Slowcums' 'Bellheads' and 'Longhorns' of this world (to name but a few)?

    It'll only end in tears!

  39. Anonymous Coward

    I've been GAY since the day I was born...

    So has my Dad.. As was his Dad...

    Facebook took dislike and wouldnt even let me register, asking me to email them to resolve the 'issue' with my name lol

    I couldnt be bothered - Blessing in disguise perhaps..

  40. Bob Gender

    What was wrong with...


    George Bush's nephew is called "Pierce", by the way.

  41. Michael O'Malley

    Gay names

    In Ireland, Gay used to be a normal abbreviation for Gabriel. Gay Byrne was a leading broadcaster for decades, while Gay Mitchell was a leading politician. However, younger Gabriels don't use this abbreviation, for some reason.

    I am prejudiced against gays for one reason - that they destroyed the old meaning of a good and useful word, "gay". I wish they had created a new word, rather than killing a good old one. Today, many young folk are actually unaware that gay has any other meaning than homosexual.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Heal

    > Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz

    Are you saying they should have stuck to quick brown foxes?

  43. Graham Bartlett


    Actually AFAIK homosexuals didn't change the meaning; it was heterosexuals misunderstanding the then-alternative meaning of "gay" meaning "working as a prostitute". Hence the famous phrase "some of my best friends are gay" when originally used was meaning "some of my best friends are prostitutes". But it was used by a man talking about his male-prostitute friends.

    And "gay" has since shifted meaning again to mean "naff". Many young folk actually would be surprised to hear that "that's so gay" would be interpreted by older people to be a homophobic insult, in roughly the same way that the word "spazz" when I was growing up in the 80s was used without meaning any insult to people with cerebral palsy.

  44. Nigel Rook

    Re. Hmmm Re. Discrimination...

    "I wonder how Richard Blackwood gets on with his Xbox live account"

    I'd imagine he has a larger than average... err... gamerscore

  45. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    A while back one UK radio station (can't remember which) took to rummaging through US phone directories for amusing names, calling them and trying to get them to say their name on air.

    Still chuckle when I think of their best one - "Randy Fanny" :)

  46. Tom Cole

    There can't be that many of them...

    What's particularly scary about this, is that I went to school with a guy who had that exact name.

    It couldn't be the same guy, could it?

    @Erwin Blonk

    The Bruce Dickinson comment also made me giggle...Can't believe I never saw that.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    so is...

    a merkin really just someone who lives in the us?

  48. Gerry Doyle
    IT Angle

    @ Mickey O'Malley - Gay Names

    When I was a kid in Ireland, a long time ago, I just couldn't understand how the broadcaster Gay Byrne was a man while radio 'Dear Frankie...' Frankie Byrne was a woman. Although to this day in Cork City Florance is a common name for men, as is Mary as a middle name.

    Mickey on the other hand seems quite innocent to many - personally though I was creased up laughing at the myriad combinations while at the Paris Disney, especially a box labelled 'Jedi Mickey'. The mind boggles...

    I'm assured that tour guides in the USA Disneys are often perplexed at the ripple of laughter from Irish tourists when introduced to a statue billed as The Biggest Mickey in the World.

    As for young kids use of 'gay' - many of them are now unaware that it has any other meaning than 'rubbish'.

  49. Richard Gaywood

    @Tom Cole

    Bloody hell, did I used to play AD&D with you?

  50. DirkGently

    What about...

    ... Gaylord? I guess if you were a fundie you'd change your name by deed poll.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offensiveness or otherwise...

    "Surely Microsoft classing the word 'gay' is offensive is against the law on the ground of discrimination. It's not an offensive term for homosexuality..."

    Have you been in the vicinity of any straight male console gamers under about 25 lately?

    For them, "Gay" is the new universal derogatory. It reflects an unenlightened homophobia in a certain demographic. It's so prevalent they have "ghey" as a euphemism (or to avoid auto filters in chat). Anything that is not as good as it could be hoped to be is "gay".

  52. Steve


    "For them, "Gay" is the new universal derogatory. It reflects an unenlightened homophobia in a certain demographic."

    More sanctimonious twaddle.

    Gay means camp, effeminate or ineffectual and therefore is a perfectly good term for something which breaks before expected or fails to create the desired effect. Besides every gay bloke I know takes the piss out of things for being "straight" or "hettie" if they are ungainly, destructive or lacking in matching belts.

    They're not all going to start crying because some "breeder" uses gay as a derogatory descriptor.

    Having said that, sticking up for gays will win you points with their female friends so if it's working for you, good luck.

  53. Tom Cole

    @Richard Gaywood

    Small world, mate!

    "Of all the threads on all the internet, I had to walk into yours..."

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Jenny Taylor

    lol we had a Jenny too she has a brother Jonny too but that doesn't quite have the same effect

  55. RW
    Gates Horns

    See no evil

    Part of the rationale for banning "gay" as a handle involves pandering to the overly delicate sensibilities of the nutty fundamentalists in the US. They have the odd idea that if you blank out references to a disliked phenomenon (e.g. homosexuality, evolution, the existence of other religions, the existence of other forms of Christianity), you have in some way made that phenomenon cease to exist. (Cue the Monty Python parrot scene.) Or something -- it's hard to tell just what they think this extreme prudishness does.

    Or maybe they're sure just hearing the word "gay" will inflame youths with uncontrollable desires to turn queer.

    Or maybe they themselves can be inflamed in that way. Given the number of anti-gay Republican politicians who've been caught engaging in homo-hanky-panky (to coin a phrase) in public venues, this is far from being a joke.

    Bill Gates with horns because...

  56. Kevin Crisp
    Thumb Up

    @Spackle @Steve

    That was the most cynical comment I have read for a long time. Well done mate.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about Sanctimonious Twat ?

    "We recieved a complaint on the Gamertag and determined that it did indeed contain sexual innuendo. Now granted, there could be an argument that the text is not pejorative to homosexuality and should therefore be allowed. But there is no context to explain that. Gamertags are visible to everyone and it would be hard for me to defend to a parent of a young child who saw it that the name did not contain content of a sexual nature."

  58. Bill Gould

    @ Rob Aley

    "That may not be news, but this is. "Gay" is NOT an offensive word. Welcome to the 21st century, Microsoft may enter it soon, too."

    Really? Then why is it part of so many insults? If it's not offensive, it can't offend. Hrm...

    As for why it was done. Policy. That's all. Nothing special. No conspiracy. That's it.

    Tux, because if you use it you're gay. (Which as proven by Rob is not offensive in any way).

  59. Anonymous Coward

    my name is...

    ...Roger Twatcunt

    oes problem cariad?

  60. Anonymous Coward

    @ spackle et al

    So "gay" shouldn't be offensive, nor doe it originally mean homosexual it's aslang term for homosexual but it actually means.....

    gay (HAPPY)

    adjective OLD-FASHIONED

    1 happy:

    We had a gay old time down at the dance hall.

    2 If a place is gay, it is bright and attractive:

    The streets were gay and full of people.

    See also gaiety; gaily.

    (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

    sorry just thought I'd be a pedant



    a person who is too interested in formal rules and small unimportant details>

  61. Anonymous Coward

    yes, by the Holy Beard

    @Anonymous Coward: "so is... a merkin really just someone who lives in the us?

  62. kain preacher

    dick butkus

    would be beaned in 12 second

  63. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    It's 2008... perfect example of the M$ mindset


    how utterly stupid, retarded a company should be with a policy like this?

    This story speaks volumes about Microsoft's "cultural" roots.

  64. nuciphaal

    Unique name?

    When I was a comsci student at Cardiff uni, we had a lab assistant guy/PhD student called Richard Gaywood, seems like everyone knows one....

    But seriously I'm quite surprised that we're so sure that it's the 'Gay' but, if M$ are so bloody worried about it, they could have banned that name for:

    1) 'Richard' [Rhyming slang - Richard III = 'Turd'].

    2) 'wood' [a boner, natch].

    Maximum stupid points.

  65. Moss Icely Spaceport

    and you don't see....

    Ben Downe or Phil McCrackin on XBOX live these days.

  66. Gerry Doyle

    Quite possibly she's well past such things but...

    this all makes me wonder how an old flame of mine - Ann Kuntz - manages to get by at all?

  67. Marcus

    Microsoft XBox Product Manager

    The Microsoft XBox Product Manager is called... wait for it...

    John RODMAN

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


  69. Kajiki
    Thumb Up

    Funniest real name

    I saw a Dr Hornocker on some wildlife program years ago. Me and my brother laughed for about an hour straight.

    Even though it was about 15 years ago, I am still laughing as I think about it. Class.

  70. Gianni Straniero

    Real names

    I went to school with a Richard Head. Swear to God.

  71. Wize

    A site full of them

    Drew Peacock and friends can be found listed at

  72. Steve Rowland

    What's so funny about Biggus Dickus?

    ...he has a wife you know? Incontinentia. Incontinentia Buttocks!

  73. Richard Gaywood


    That's not another Richard Gaywood mate. That's me too. Same one.

  74. mike panero

    The BFG

    Big Fat Gay was my tag on HL2DM for ages

    I changed it to Fudge Club

  75. nuciphaal

    @Richard Gaywood

    I actually had this page of comments bookmarked to see if you'd get back and confirm.

    Nice to see you're still about. You were consistently the 'preferred' lab guy when it came to answering questions for our group.

    Conversations in our sessions always went something like:

    "Couldn't do question 6, the example didn't work"

    "Oh yeah that one. That Richard guy showed me what to do."

    "Richard guy...?"

    "Richard Gaywood, guy with the beard?"

    "Oh him! Yeah he was busy though. By the way, bit mean, innit? I think he's alright."

    "What do you mean?"

    "You called him GAYwood"

    "That's his name."

    "No, it's GRAYwood."

    I had to force them to slyly read your ID badge to convince them of it. Oh how the yoof of today have corrupted the language...

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