In 2017, as Howell, NJ resident and first-year student Dalton ’24 searched for answers about gender and identity, little did they know that it would lead them to supporting LGBTQ+ youth through TrevorSpace.
An online forum for individuals 13 to 24 years old who identify as LGBTQ+, TrevorSpace provides an opportunity for community members to provide factual information, ask their own questions, and provide emotional support. It’s a dedicated space of the Trevor Project, an national nonprofit organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth.
“I honestly craved answers,” said Dalton, who has chosen to only go by one name. “And more in-depth personal answers than just typing something into a search engine. I looked into Trevor Project—it brought me to [TrevorSpace] where all of these other people were asking the same questions I was: Is it okay to identify as nothing? Is it okay to identify as something completely different from you? When I first was questioning, I tried to get so well versed and learn about everything and anything I could. Then, I was able to help other people, and that was the greatest feeling.”
Dalton describes their mental health in 2017 as a low point, dealing with depression as they tried to figure out why they were uncomfortable in their skin and unable to share these emotions with their family. However, Dalton said that since helping others through TrevorSpace, their mental health has improved and they’ve even found their passion: Psychology.
“I think it's so interesting the way that you can kind of understand the way your brain thinks in terms of who you are, gender-wise, sexuality-wise,” said Dalton, who, while an undeclared major, believes their future career is as a therapist to LGBTQ+ youth. “When I started on TrevorSpace, psychology to me was a very umbrella term, but now I know exactly what field of psychology I want to go into. It was exciting to figure that out.”