Artistic Director Shawna Virago


Shawna Virago is a transgender music artist celebrated for her striking lyric-based songs. Her music twists together folk, punk, and trans-americana, offering raw observations about survival in a predatory world, queer love, sticking up for the underdog, and gender rebels. Virago has performed as an out transwoman since the early 1990’s. Her music has been profiled in many publications.  She had made eight short films which have screened at over 50 film festivals in 15 countries.

Virago has been the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival’s Artistic Director since 2003, organizing curation, 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.

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.