BODY OF MINE helps build a space that has yet to be carved:
We believe that full immersion has the potential for not only powerful empathetic responses from non-queer people, but also offering profound support for those who are closeted or questioning.
While a young trans girl in Texas may be kicked out of her home for wearing a dress, within the privacy of a headset, she is able to not only try on a dress, but to explore different bodies, to see the effects of transitioning, and to even try out different names and pronouns. Such experiences could be tremendous for queer youth specifically, who disproportionately suffer from mental health issues and suicide.
Beyond traditional games, we believe in building a space within VR that focuses on uplifting, supporting, and understanding the queer community. In doing so, we bring intimacy to new technology, opening the door for other inwards-looking VR experiences to follow.
Born Texan and raised Baptist, I was stuck inside the closet until my 20s. Between a homophobic school and an unaccepting household, there was no space to escape to explore my identity, or my queerness. And, of course, my mental health suffered for it.
When I was finally outed to my parents, my nightmare was over. My parents kicked me out of the family, and estranged me emotionally and financially, but I was not broken; at last, I could be free.
The raw power of VR offers the current generation of kids a space that I was not afforded: a space to explore their queerness, to connect to shared experiences, and to escape a hostile environment within the privacy and intimacy of a headset.
At a time when trans people suffer from atrocious violence, estrangement, and mental health issues, we need to use the power of VR to not only build gender-affirming and queer-positive experiences for those struggling, but to make them accessible to larger audiences to better understand queer experiences.
As a director and game developer, I hope to use my own experience of feeling trapped to build the spaces I wish I had while coming out. If one kid, somewhere in the world, finds strength through it, then it will have been worth it.