Artistic Director Shawna Virago is a celebrated transgender musician and activist. Her music is celebrated for its mix of original songs, storytelling and standup. Her most recent album Objectified has been featured in Curve magazine and on National Public Radio. She composed original music for transgender choreographer Sean Dorsey’s acclaimed dance theater show Uncovered: The Diary Project. Virago has performed in theaters, clubs, Festivals, colleges and Pride stages across the US. Recent appearances have included the National Queer Arts Festival, Fresh Meat Festival, Tranny Road Show, Homo-A-GoGo, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, Sex Workers Art Show, Los Angeles Pride, San Francisco Pride and the Femme Conference.
Virago has been the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival’s Artistic Director since 2003, selecting the films and videos, organizing fundraising, coordinating production staff and volunteers and overseeing publicity. Virago’s own original films have screened at festivals throughout the world including Frameline (San Francisco); OutFest (Los Angeles); New Fest (NYC); Netherlands Film Festival; London Transgender Film Festival; MIX Fest (NYC); Toronto Transgender Film Festival.
Virago is a published writer and her most recent work appears in Gender Outlaws: Next Generation and in Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. She is featured in the documentaries Diagnosing Difference and The Believers.
Virago has been an LGBT anti-violence activist for over 15 years. She was the first transgender woman to serve on the board of directors of San Francisco Women Against Rape. She was on the Transgender Law Center Board and the Transgender Gender-Variant Justice Project Advisory Board. She is a founding member of TransAction, a pioneering police accountability group and for 13 years was the Domestic Violence Program Director at Community United Against Violence. She is the first transgender woman ever chosen to be a San Francisco Pride Grand Marshal and served on San Francisco’s pioneering Transgender Human Rights Task Force.