Francesca (Cessa) Betancourt
In 2016, producers Francesca (Cessa) Betancourt and Linnea Ingalls found themselves on a 10 hour bus ride in the mountains of Central Africa, listening to podcasts about female and non-binary experiences. Cessa realized there was no significant outlet back home in the Seattle community for these stories to be told and heard. Thus, with the help of her bus mate, Linnea, the idea for she is FIERCE was created. Their inaugural event, FIRSTS, opened in November 2016.
"she is FIERCE: stories from the female and genderqueer perspective" is a recurring storytelling event in Seattle (and now a podcast!) where women, genderqueer, and nonbinary people of all demographics can share stories from their experiences that matter to them. At SiF, we value what women, genderqueer, and nonbinary people have to say. We value what they've been through, what they've laughed at, loved, lost, learned, and conquered. And we want to hear more from them. We want them to feel like their voices are heard and appreciated, that their stories matter. We pick a theme for each show and then call for submissions on that theme. Once we select a line up, we provide support and coaching for each storyteller to hone their piece, as well as give them the option of collaborating with a professional dancer, musician, theatre artist, or visual artist.
OUR MISSION: To amplify female and gender queer stories by providing a supportive collaborative platform for their vulnerability, expression, and celebration of experience.
Currently we are re-examining our name and mission to be more inclusive of all gender identities. When SiF was originally founded it made sense to us to limit submissions to people of more marginalized genders, but as our cultural and personal understanding of gender identity is becoming more holistic and fluid, we want to acknowledge that spaces that limit access to only women and femme or nonbinary people can do more harm than good, and ignores the experiences of trans men and masc folks, as well as dismisses the nuances of gender fluidity. The goal of this project is to uplift and amplify the stories and voices of people who we as a society don't often get to hear from, and we know that can be achieved without being gender exclusive. It will take us a while to fully and intentionally transition to this new version of the project, but we hope to do so after we have released our backlog of podcast episodes from previous shows. In the meantime, we welcome any feedback or thoughts our community might have to make SiF more accessible and welcoming, so feel free to reach out!
Branding, poster, and graphic design by the illustrious Acacia Betancourt