Was just reading Pike's blog where she has a recent article talking about why people play opposite gender characters in MMORPGs.
As a couple of people here have inadvertently but correctly mentioned, I am a heterosexual male. Yet I play a female character who I have strong emotional ties to, and who I actually at times speak about in the first person.
As far as sexuality is concerned, I will admit that Mirshalak visually is actually fairly close to my own sexual ideal...or at least one particular element of it. Given the percieved lack of femininity in Orcish females, this could be taken as additional evidence to support the theory that I am, in fact, homosexual...however, I actually consider the character highly visually feminine...just not, perhaps, in a conventionally stereotypical way.
Hence, my initial motivation with Mirsh was as a straight male wanting a female character who I would be visually, and I would definitely even say sexually, attracted to.
However, as time went on and I developed more of a bond with the character, the situation became more complex. I gradually discovered that being a female character, Mirsh gave me the freedom to express certain emotional elements which, stereotypically speaking, Real Men are not supposed to express. These included compassion, empathy, and a degree of protectiveness towards other people which was entirely new to me.
Given the above, I have, on numerous occasions actually, been accused of homosexuality by people who I played the game fairly extensively with. The question of my sexual orientation is one that I've probably actually devoted a couple of years of total mental time to, all up. I eventually came to the conclusion, particularly given my degree of enjoyment of heterosexual sex, that I wasn't actually gay...but that I perhaps quite simply was unusually emotionally active and/or honest for a straight male.
The creation of Mirshalak as a character coincided with a period of my life where I had only recently been able to become free of parental authority; thus, this character served as a vehicle through which I've at least hopefully been able to attain a greater degree of self-knowledge. It had led me to discover that in some ways I actually am a very different person to who I'd actually thought...but then again, a lot of those characteristics which I think of as being radically different are actually the same as those I posessed when younger...they now merely perhaps take somewhat different forms. Mirsh has taught me a lot about myself, and I almost certainly wouldn't have learned at least some of those things if she had been a male character.
Hence, if a person who is playing a different gender character doesn't explicitly engage in sexually oriented behaviour, my own belief would tend to be that having an opposite gender character on its' own is not sufficient grounds for suspicion of homosexuality. As Richard Bartle has written, perhaps the primary redeeming function of MMORPGs is to allow for the attainment of self-knowledge through being able to adopt various different non-real, experimental identities, and then actually inhabit said identities in a relatively neutral environment. From this perspective, rather than accusing a person of being gay, I'd probably actually suggest that they are not fully utilising the potential for personal development that MMORPGs offer if they haven't got a character whose gender is the opposite to their physical one.