Students make app for censored teens to express thoughts, stories

Kaitlin Musante

Huddled around their computer, Ari Sokolov ’19 and Izzy Reiff ’18 smiled at each other and clicked the mouse, officially launching the beta for the Trill Project, a safe, anonymous network for LGBTQ teens living in socially repressed countries.

“We were amazed at the instant response from the LGBTQ community we received,” Sokolov said. “[Before we launched,] I felt nervous about how Trill was going to be received by our users. It’s been great to hear their overall positive response.”

After drawing inspiration from a podcast about Tor, an anonymous web browser used to fight terrorism, Sokolov joined with Reiff and their fellow Girls Who Code team members Sara Kangaslahti ’19 and Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor Alexandra So ’19 to create the program.

The app allows users to privately share their thoughts and feelings through unsigned text posts. Regularly active users also have the option to join Communities, which consist of small groups of users who offer and receive support from others experiencing a variety of issues.

Before launching, the group used Instagram to encourage users to anonymously share the issues they have grappled with, receiving submissions from users such as Sunset who said, “I don’t support guns in my house at all, but when my parents ask me why, I don’t know how to tell them it’s because I’m afraid one day I’ll put a gun in my mouth.”

The app is currently in the public beta phase and has received over 250 signups and will launch officially in June in celebration of Pride Month.

Sokolov said that the project has taught her the importance of standing up for LGBTQ rights and has given her a new hope for the future.

“I am just really excited to see how Trill will impact the world,” Sokolov said.