Scholarships for Real Life: “Your First Clue”

First Clue_Story

Last year we started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others.

In this short series, we’ll highlight our initial grantees.


Up until now the LGBT narrative has focused on the often painful and conflicted “when did you know?” and “coming out” stories. In contrast, the First Clue project collects and shares stories from LGBT individuals answering the question, “What was your first clue that you were a lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender?”

First Clue_Britt First Clue_Cath_wide

First clue stories are often positive and upbeat, recalling a time when we trusted the truth of our experience and had faith in our basic goodness. These stories offer insight into our earliest intuitions that we know who we are and are at ease with ourselves until we are taught not to be by cultural influences. Simple yet powerful, these are overlooked and untold stories with the power to transform the way individuals and a community perceives itself.

Susan Sullivan, the First Clue Project director and WDS Foundation winner, has already completed the first goal of the project. In 2014, Susan completed the FIRST CLUE short film, which premiered at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June (watch the trailer below).

First Clue Trailer from Susan Sullivan on Vimeo.

Moving forward, Susan will use the WDS Foundation funding to add an online, interactive Story Hub that enables participants to upload and share their first clue stories and a traveling art exhibition of curated stories and photos reflecting the wide range of first clue stories shared by participants. Additionally, Susan plans to collect five First Clue stories for each U.S. state in order to illustrate the diversity of experiences.

If you are interested in contributing your story, stay tuned to the Twitter account (@lgbtqfirstclue) for updates on how to submit your information. Susan is also recruiting a mentor to assist with outreach strategy and an overall messaging plan.


Subscribe now and you’ll get the best posts of all time.