Evelyn Everheart

Evelyn Everheart


Evelyn Everheart (they, them, theirs) is a 22-year-old with a passion for all things storytelling: They have a degree from the University of California, Riverside in Linguistics, have worked as a graphic designer and have now established themselves as a video game developer. As a means for telling important stories to the world, video games have always held a special place in Evelyn’s heart: Video games opened a magical world for them as they were growing up, and they quickly learned coding so that they could start creating worlds of their own.

It wasn’t long before Evelyn began leveraging their many interests to establish Tomgirl Studios, a video game development business launched with the support of Project LIYT. Tomgirl Studios is dedicated to designing digital worlds and characters that connect communities and create empathy through storytelling.

Evelyn uses their unique ability to create fun games that directly address issues of confidence, mental health, and culture. “One of the notions of my art is boldness,” they say. From their perspective, storytellers can’t “tap-dance” around social issues by using metaphors to represent ‘hot topics”—a person’s story should always be more than twodimensional. With Project L.I.Y.T as the inspiration, Evelyn created A TruDay, a game developed in collaboration with TruEvolution, an LGBTQ and HIV-focusesd nonprofit. The game puts players in the shoes of a young, queer person living with HIV who has to navigate the challenges of daily life and the pressure that comes with a positive diagnosis while ultimately staying true to themselves. Each of Tomgirl Studios’ games strives to help young LGBTQ people learn to be confident and bold in the face of stigma.

Working on these projects as a L.I.Y.T Scholar has helped Evelyn develop strategies for ideating and developing a business plan for building out Tomgirl Studios. “That’s what so great about L.I.Y.T—they’re teaching all the techniques for starting, finishing and marketing your project.” Now, Evelyn’s goal is to increase representation for minority communities and characters— “I want to see more people like myself in art,” they say. In the future, they want to expand Tomgirl Studios and continue working as an indie game developer. They hope that their work teaches young people that they should never let gatekeepers get in the way of how they want to live their lives.

This Amp Grantee Innovator Profile was developed as part of the Positive Action for Youth (PAFY) initiative and the Amp Grant initiative. PAFY advances ViiV Healthcare’s commitment to supporting a range of community-driven activities that amplify the voices of young leaders and activate innovative solutions to combat HIV, with the ultimate goal of empowering youth with the tools, networks and resources they need to seek and stay engaged in care. Learn more about ViiV programs and initiatives at www.viivhealthcare.com/en-us, and on Twitter at @ViiVUS

Illustrations provided by Farah Jeune, artist and creator/producer/host of Farenheight TV.

ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.