This article aims to explore the experiences transgender gamers have with avatars. Building on a foundation of identity construction theories from both media studies and queer studies, this study theorizes that these gamers will use their virtual world avatars to experiment with gender performance and ideal selves. These theories of identity construction are explored and examined through digital ethnography, by using the participant observation method, in which trans gamers are interviewed about their experiences with avatar creation and use. Based on the evidence gathered from those interviews, this study concludes that trans gamers in general tend to create avatars who reflect their ideal selves, especially early in their transitions. Thus, the game worlds function as contested spaces where gamers experiment with the performance of alternative, fluid identities. Those identities can then cross the border from virtual to physical, affecting people's lives and corporeal bodies.
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"Virtual Avatars: Trans Experiences of Ideal Selves Through Gaming,"
Markets, Globalization & Development Review:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/mgdr/vol3/iss3/4