Archive for December, 2008

Homophobic censorship?

Dec 9th, 2008

Recently it was discovered that the word censor list for the computer game Pure was included in the game install in plain text format. Predictably this has resulted in many people trying to string together the most obscene sentences which will be able to bypass the filter. However for me the list raised another question. Among the filtered words were:

bisexual
bisexuality
bisexuals
bi-sexual
bi-sexuals

gay
gays

homo
homos
homosexual
homosexuality
homosexuals

lesbian
lesbians
lesbo
lesbos

Along with several pejorative terms for describing non-straight people (except poof for some odd reason). What the list didn’t block is straight, heterosexual or any of its variants. This provides gay and bisexual people with little ability to discuss their sexuality, while placing no such restriction on straight folk.
This just continues to reinforce the idea that gay and bisexual people are an ‘other,’ and that there is something dirty or morally corrupt about their sexuality. If the list itself can’t be described as homophobic, it in the very least reveals the deeply rooted homophobia in our society.
Before someone raises the issue, I am well aware that gay and ‘homo’ are used as insults in the same was heterosexual isn’t. However the developer’s approach here is highly unsatisfactory, and I think creates a situation which is worse than the situation they were trying to prevent. By blocking the words, they merely end up re-enforcing the attitude that led to them being considered offensive in the first place.
I feel the developers (or more accurately the publishers, as there is an indication that the list was supplied by Disney) should have either allowed all non-pejorative terms to describe sexuality, or none of them.
If anyone is interested, the banned word lists can be found here.

This post was originally a message on the snopes messageboard.

CORRECTION: The post intended to refer to the game Pure, rather than P.U.R.E, as was mistakenly written in the initial post. I apologise to the creators of P.U.R.E for this mistake.