Gay Naming in Online Gaming
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This essay analyzes the naming strategies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) gamers and their allies in massively multiplayer online games. The name choices for their characters and for the groups to which their characters belong are informed by game developers’ policies on acceptable and unacceptable language, symbols, and phrases commonly associated with LGBT cultures, and commonplace online hostility toward sexual minorities. These factors often result in creative naming strategies to negotiate the conflicting desire for both openness and protective concealment within the public spaces of online gaming.