13 years later, World of Warcraft is STILL telling queer guilds they're not allowed to advertise their queerness

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/11/no-institutional-memory.html


But but but… Blizzard made Tracer & Soldier 76 gay…


speaking as a gay Warcraft player, i have to say that i have NEVER seen any other game company as supportive of the LGBTQ community as Blizzard has been. i mean, there’s an entire server that is a known safe space for LGBTQ guilds to exist, and they have annual Pride parades in-game, not just on that server but on many servers. i think there must be more to this story.


I’m actually tooling around on this exact server (the nostalgia, it burns) and just last night saw someone spamming general chat, recruiting for an LGBTQ friendly guild.

I think the players have this one in hand, and am glad the tone def mod is getting his poor decision dragged into the spotlight.


I think there is a big difference between banning people from advertising as a queer-friendly guild (which is totally wrong) and determining the name “GAY BOYS” is not an acceptable guild name. If I saw a guild called “GAY BOYS” my gut reaction would be to assume it was created by a homophobe laughing at gay people, not a gay boy celebrating being a gay boy.

I hope people are out and proud. I just don’t think that wearing a sign over your head saying “GAY BOYS” reads that way.

ETA: Please see discussion in responses, my comment isn’t really taking into account the full context.


This is homophobic.

Gay folks (and others of the queer tribe) do not need policing in how they queer themselves by those outside heir ken.


Isn’t everyone done with Blizzard? I thought we were all deleting our accounts anyway.


You are right and I should have read the article before I reacted. My experience has been that people saying they are “gay” specifically in connection with games is more often straight people using the word in a homophobic way than gay people actually describing themselves as gay. I’ve put significant effort into stopping them from doing so.

Because of that experience, I could understand someone who was moderating guild names seeing the name and forcing a name change based on the name alone, not based on complaints.

Clearly no one involved in this case thought the name was anything other than genuine. There were complaints from people who hated gay people and moderators who caved to those people. Blizzard hasn’t really even explained how the name violated their policy.


Thank you, Humbabella.


Wow. Blizzard is just not going to stop until they’ve swallowed the entire foot, are they?

I’m glad I saw your comment before I posted my original reply. I hope you’re right, and this isn’t the mess it appears to be. But…

… that’s a strange statement that seems crafted around protecting the sensibilities of paying bigots at the expense of paying LGBTQ+ members. “Camouflage yourselves so they don’t find you and react.”


It’s been a mixed bag with them from literally day one. I was an old-school EQ player who gave WoW a try when it started (and it didn’t stick because the “13-year-olds learning how to swear” phenomenon was so much higher there, at least at that time), and the controversy then was over them trying to moderate exclusively by language-filter, and classifying “gay,” however used, as a bannable swear word. I recall having an awkward conversation in-game (using phrases like “the g word” and “people who actually are… that”) about how the assumptions underlying that decision came from the same place, and were at least as problematic, as the behaviors they were trying to protect people from. Even for the time it was an especially hardline stance from the company relative to what their peers in the industry were doing.


well, that seems to be carefully-crafted legal-speak, you know? it covers all angles. there can’t be a “MAGA Boys” guild either.

to be fair, it has (and still is occasionally, from what i’ve seen) used in a derogatory manner, so that’s probably where that came from. not sure if it is a bannable offense any more or not, but i certainly don’t see it used nearly as often as when i started 12 years ago, so at least progress has been made in some ways. i am pretty sure it’s decided on a case-by-case, context-based system now.


No no, Blizzard, dig up!


Well yes, of course, but the problem is the harassment of gay people (including misidentifying people and regarding it an insult), not the existence of gay people to harass, and that’s a distinction Blizzard has had a bizarrely tough time making all along. Their reaction has been miscalculated in a way that seems to align them more with the harassers than the harassed far more often than other companies in similar circumstances.

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I don’t think there is anything about a gay WoW guild or a gay choir or a gay soccer team that contributes to the idea that we should have jobs or housing or grocery stores that are exclusive to straight or gay people. Seeing whether you can down whatever the current hardest boss is with a bunch of gay men doesn’t suggest you will treat straight men badly if you meet them on the street.

If a bunch of dads like to go out together once a month to connect with some other men I don’t think anyone should assume that’s misogynist. People have different sides of themselves and seek different spaces to express themselves fully.


You do realize that people in the LBGQT+ community are regularly discriminated against in our society?

It’s always been straight people writing the laws specifically to EXCLUDE LBGQT+ people.


“Don’t Ask, Don’t Spell”?

That’s usually just asking people to be in the closet and “tone it down” for the theoretical peace of the community. That doesn’t help anyone.

How do you feel about Pride Parades?


It’s really weird how when a historically marginalized and oppressed group (like Gay folks or Black people) decides not to hide or be ashamed of merely being different, some people in the dominant class choose to see that behavior as inherently “exclusionary” or ‘offensive’ to people outside that group.

That’s not how Othering works.


What’s wrong with “GAY BOYS”? As a gay guy I find this name non-offensive. However, I’m very lax on terminologies as long as they aren’t used in a direct hateful way shrugs


Point taken, but the phrases “low bar” and “damning with faint praise” also come to mind.