Political Correctness Corrected

Yes, Microsoft, there IS a Fort Gay, West Virginia — Just Ask Google

A West Virginia man was banned from an online gaming site because of his hometown.

I came across this item from a news archive while doing research for a Valentine’s Day story I wrote for the Ashland Times-Gazette. One of the people I wrote about happened to be from the town of Fort Gay, W. Va. Unlike most journalists, I like to let readers know where these places are. Especially when they are places most of us have never heard of. So I looked it up and found that Fort Gay — population 800 give or take a few — is on the Kentucky border. It’s right across the Big Sandy and Tug Fork rivers from the sprawling metropolis of Louisa.

About five years ago, Microsoft suspended a 26-year-old man from its Xbox Live gaming site. Moderators wrongly assumed he provided a fake town name and concluded that it was meant to be discriminatory toward gay people.

This was at a time when some people used the term “gay” to mean lame. Which sucks, because it somehow implied that gay people were inferior. Fortunately, that usage seems to have gone by the wayside.

The man tried to explain that Fort Gay is a real town, but a Microsoft customer service rep threatened to terminate his membership altogether without refunding his membership fee, which was paid two years in advance. All the rep had to do was Google “Fort Gay, W. Va.,” but the rep refused.

You would think that would be a no-brainer for someone working in the online game business. It doesn’t take much Internet savvy to Google something.

Long story short, the folks at Microsoft eventually realized their mistake and reinstated the guy’s membership.

I wonder what Microsoft would have done if the guy lived in Intercourse, Pa.


I admit it is ironic that, in the town of Fort Gay, there is a stream called Lick Branch.




2 thoughts on “Political Correctness Corrected

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s