2021, Innovations in Research

Gender Vectors

Using Video Game Technology to Depict the Life Experiences of Transgender Youth

The Gender Vectors team received a SSHRC Insight Grant in 2015. This four-year project centred on working with a cohort of Master's of Digital Media students at the Centre for Digital Media to develop a prototype of a video game to depict the life experiences of transgender youth in the Greater Vancouver area. We interviewed more than 25 transgender youth (and parents of transgender youth) to understand the particular challenges they experienced and the ways in which race, class, gender and dis/ability shaped these experiences. The video game prototype was tested by a Youth Advisory Council composed of transgender youth, and the final version was the basis of an intergenerational workshop consisting of transgender youth and adult allies.

We published two team-authored articles from the project and applied for a SSHRC Insight Grant (November 2019 – unsuccessful – and November 2020 – pending) to establish a Virtual Network of Transgender Youth and provide digital media training to youth via the network.

Transgender youth are a population that are marginalized—and often invisible. This research amplified trans youth voices and began to explore the significance of differences on the basis of race, Indigeneity, gender, class and dis/ability for trans experience.


Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Gender, transgender, youth, digital media

Video game prototype

After being shown around the apartment and to their bedroom, Aja goes to sleep.
In Scene 2, Aja is exploring the transit system. They enter a train and find the pointed stares of passengers anxiety-provoking and are fearful of potential transphobia.
When they awake in the morning, there’s a note from Aunt Marta suggesting things to do, $20 and a transit pass.
Aja considers ways to cope with their anxiety.



Travers (they/them/their/theirs) is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at SFU and a youth baseball coach since 2021.

Co-Investigator Dr. Dominique Falls is a Sport Studies Instructor at Douglas College and Co-Investigator Dr. Jennifer Berdahl is a Professor in Sociology at UBC.

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