Panelists Announced for GLAAD's Panel on Homophobia & Virtual Communities

Today, GLAAD announced the panelists and topics to be covered in an upcoming panel on Homophobia & Virtual Communities.  The panel will take place from 11am-1pm on July 18, 2009 at the Electronic Arts campus, just south of San Francisco in Redwood City, California. To RSVP, please email or visit You can also join the Facebook Event Page. The first of its kind panel discussion will spotlight the issue of homophobia in virtual communities and include the perspectives of both gaming companies and LGBT gamers.  Discussion will revolve around the state of the problem in these communities, policy solutions that have been developed to address homophobia - some that are working and those that are not - as well as looking forward to challenges and opportunities in various sectors of the industry including production, policy and enforcement, financial, customer service and the end user experience. Confirmed panelists include:
  • Flynn DeMarco (Alias: Fruite Brute), Founder of
  • Dan Hewitt, Senior Director of Communications & Industry Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
  • Caryl Shaw, Senior Producer in the Maxis Studio (Electronic Arts, Inc.)
  • Cyn Skyberg, VP of Customer Relations at Linden Lab
  • Stephen Toulouse (Gamertag: stepto), Program Manager for Policy and Enforcement on Microsoft's XBox LIVE
I'll be moderating the panel as the Director of Digital Media for GLAAD. Jarrett Barrios, the incoming President of GLAAD, remarked today:
The panel will provide an important forum to discuss a problem many LGBT people face in virtual communities and will help set the groundwork for better and more LGBT inclusive policies.  These companies have voiced a commitment to all their customers - ensuring a safe environment for LGBT people is a critical part of that.
To RSVP, please email or visit You can also join the Facebook Event Page. Other key information:
  • Title: Homophobia in Virtual Communities - Highlighting the Problem and Working Towards Sustainable Solutions
  • Date: Saturday, July 18th, 2009
  • Time: 11am-1pm PST
  • Place: Redwood City, CA (specific location information and directions will be given to those who RSVP)
  • Format: 1 moderator, 5 panelists - Introductions, three major questions each followed by discussion, audience Q&A
The panel is part of GLAAD's previously announced advocacy and anti-defamation project that will focus on a range of virtual communities including networked PC games, social networks, online gaming and virtual worlds. The project will also address policies related to commenting features on blogs, Web sites and message boards. GLAAD will work to ensure such communities remain committed to:
  • Providing safe spaces for LGBT people to connect
  • Enact the best policies to prevent anti-LGBT defamation
  • Educate users of these communities about the effects of homophobia.
You can read more about our Digital Media work here.