The immensely popular social networking website Facebook has been hit by claims that it won't let people whose name is 'Gay' join up – because it doesn't think their name is 'legitimate'.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reports that when they tried to sign up a person who was called Gay, they were refused permission and confronted with the message: 'Please enter a legitimate name.'
It will, however, allow users who are called Hitler.
Metro's own investigations seem to confirm this: a search of Facebook does indeed turn up lots of Gaylords, some Gayes, an occasional Gayer – but no Gays. There are, however, plenty of Dykes.
There is also an application (developed by a third party) which allows Facebook users to proclaim that they are gay, by putting a big gay flag on their profile page – but this appears to refer to sexual preference, not to actually being called Gay.
Gay is in common use both as a surname and a first name. Some well known Gays include gardening writer and broadcaster Gay Search, Irish TV host Gay Byrne, Australian politician Duncan Gay and American sprinter Tyson Gay.
When you are born with the name Gay you have to have a sense of humour
French Londoner Yannick Gay, 33, said: 'When you are born with the name Gay you have to have a sense of humour. I have never had too much problem but you do have to explain it quite a few times when giving your name. I usually say 'as in the village people' and they then get it.
'I've never tried to use Facebook but I'd like to have the option to be able to. However if I did use it I'd probably use a different surname because, not being gay, I don't want to be pestered - which can happen on the internet through people misunderstanding.'
Facebook has yet to comment on the Gay issue.