Posted by Lesbian Gamers

Is Xbox Live’s Major Nelson laughing at a gay subtext in his latest show?

Here’s some food for thought. We’ve had two emails the last two days from two people who think they’ve noticed something rather nasty in the subtext of one Mr Larry Hryb’s latest podcast. Hryb is more famously known in gaming circles as “Major Nelson” spokesman for all things Xbox Live.

In episode #312 of his podcast – at around 19 minutes in – things ‘seem’ to take a turn towards the ‘teenage “that’s so gay” route’ when Hryb and co-presenter “E” think someone changing Hryb’s Xbox Live Avatar to resemble the cowboy from the Village People is hilarious, but says one of our tipsters “in a rather insidious manner with obvious gay hate subtext”.

Now we’re not suggesting that IS the case, we listened to it and it could certainly be taken either way, that’s why we’d like you to go take a listen and see what you think yourselves (and drop it in the comments).

In the podcast Major Nelson and E discuss new Xbox Live Avatar clothing (this occurs after their Gears of War chat). There is lots of laughter when it’s first mentioned, then the story follows. Someone went into Hryb’s office, onto his XBL account and changed his avatar into “western wear” with a “handlebar mustache” which made it look like one of the Village People essentially. This allegedly led to further jokes being made on some forum.

Then Hryb relays a story about how he and his wife sat down that night for some Trivial Pursuit, which uses the XBL Avatars in game. Hryb states his wife said “what is that?” “What happened to your avatar”, “what are you doin?!” then got really angry. It was funny to the co-host when this was mentioned.

If it was the ‘gay subtext’ that was so hilarious then this is in very bad taste and perhaps highlights that the homosexual issues MS seem to have stem from an inherent immaturity regarding the subject itself (even at the highest level). If Hryb and E were cackling like teenagers in the manner some gay gamers believe they were then where does it leave the rest of the gay community with regards to feeling comfortable and safe? If the Director of Programming for Xbox Live is acting in this manner, is there any wonder it filters downward in a hateful manner?

As we said, we’re not sure, but the fact is some people that heard it were upset by it and that is damaging enough in itself.

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10 Responses to “Is Xbox Live’s Major Nelson laughing at a gay subtext in his latest show?”

  1. Greg says:

    As a gay guy I think it is fairly obvious that is what they were doing.
    The Nelson’s wife thing was extremely odd wasn’t it?
    I looked for these mysterious forums he mentioned, nothing.

  2. Axegame says:

    I really love to read and this site is very informative… thank you very much… bookmarked this website…

  3. Mizzl FashizzL says:

    I haven’t listened to the podcast, because for some reason it won’t load. So I’m basing my comments only on this article. Either way, I think those who felt upset are overreacting.
    The fact that Nelson´s wife apparently didn’t like his YMCA look says a lot more about her than it does about Nelson and E, but it says nothing about MS policy.
    Of course, they laughed about it, but we don’t know if they laughed because she was upset, or if they laughed because they thought she was overreacting (which she was).
    Nelson’s wife, however, has absolutely nothing to do with MS and their policy considering homosexuals. Thinking that Nelson and E’s reaction reflect how the Director of Programming would, is absolutely ridiculous.
    I don’t like shrimp, maybe other lesbians don’t like shrimp either. Oh no! What will that do for the fish industry??
    Of course, people’s feelings were hurt, but to me it looks like you’re connecting hurt feelings with discrimination and I don’t think one has anything to do with the other.

  4. @ Mizzl
    If by “you’re connecting” you mean “lesbian gamers” are connecting hurt feelings to discrimination I wish to clarify something.
    We received the posts, another of which arrived over the weekend. We responded by posting about the podcast in question. We then asked our readers to go listen to it and let us know their thoughts. We are not condemning Major Nelson or E, in fact if you read our post you will see that we stated a resounding IF this is the case, never “this is fact”. We don’t know what they were laughing at, we only know how it ‘seems’. It was however our duty to report on it given the reaction (however small).

  5. Mizzl FashizzL says:

    @ LesbianGamers:
    You’re absolutely right. I should have rephrased that to say that to me it looks like “some people are connecting their own hurt feelings with discrimination”.
    I’ve finally gotten a chance to listen to the podcast and there’s one thing I feel should be mentioned as well: right after Nelson quotes his wife saying “what are you doing?!” E first laughs, but then asks “what??”, as if he can’t believe that she got angry. So, I still believe that Nelson’s wife could maybe do with a few lessons in acceptance and tolerance, but Nelson and E are just fine if you ask me.
    On a whole other note: I don’t know when it was changed, but I like the new look of the site. Good job!

  6. @ Mizzl
    Yeah you may be right, part of the reason we didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon really, but we were asked specifically to report on it, so there it is.
    Thanks so much for the positive comment re the site makeover. Much appreciated!!

  7. Matt says:

    are you serious? are you that bored that you try to find gay hate in the most mundane of things?
    Considering that sexual orientation and expression have been a topic previously on the show, including Stepto working with several community groups, I find this to be a witch hunt.
    “Take a listen and see what you think.” I suggest you find a more constructive paths to follow

  8. Ryan says:

    hi i am also homosexual and i can honestly say that i did not detect any type of “gay bashing” or “gay hate subtext”. The natural himan instinct is to make things more then they reslly are. I think that Larry is a good guy althoigh married still a sensible man. I just did not here that at all. Have a good one ; )

  9. Deano says:

    I know this is old but I only just listened. I think it was obvious that is what is so funny. Major Nelson looks like a gay cowboy har-dee-harr-harr.

    And Microsoft wonder why homophobia is so wild on their Xbox Live service. Because the head cheese is laughing like a 14 year old boy. So sad.

  10. monstermash says:

    He’s a middle-aged, wealthy, white, straight man, surrounded by others of the same ilk, is homophobia however light going to creep in in some form, of course it is. On listening to the banter between Nelson and his cronie, it was fairly obviously whilst not hateful, they were laughing at the ‘gay’ avatar in that “that’s so gay” way, which, though light, is laced with hate and only adds fuel to the fire, particularly when young boys are listening and think it’s okay to have that reaction. That’s my tuppence.

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