Gender Failure Summary & Study Guide

Coyote, Ivan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gender Failure.
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Gender Failure Summary & Study Guide Description

Gender Failure Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Gender Failure by Coyote, Ivan.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Coyote, Ivan E. and Rae Spoon. Gender Failure. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014.

Gender Failure is 36 chapters long, each chapter told from either Ivan or Rae’s first-person perspective. Ivan has the odd chapters and Rae the even chapters. For the purposes of this guide, the chapters are broken into seven parts that include several chapters in each. Part 1 includes two chapters titled “Introduction” from first Ivan’s perspective then Rae’s. Ivan explains how they, both Ivan and Rae use the pronoun “they,” first worked with Rae and explains that they have had top surgery. Rae explains that since childhood they have failed at gender and have decided to retire from it altogether.

Part 2 includes the chapters: “Girl Failure,” “Girl Failure,” “Rosie,” “God Failure,” “Listing My Sisters,” and “Cowboy." In the first “Girl Failure,” Ivan talks about their junior high friend Janine and how they had overheard Janine gossiping about their genitalia. In the second “Girl Failure”, Rae also talks about junior high and running away from girls doing a dance in gym class. In “Rosie”, Ivan talks about meeting a trans-woman named Rosie who becomes a close friend. In “God Failure”, Rae remembers growing up in the Pentecostal church and rejecting the gendered teachings, as well as realizing they may be gay. In “Listing My Sisters”, Ivan talks about honoring trans folks who have died and their stories. Ivan talks about Rosie and how she lived, and died. In “Cowboy," Rae talks about growing up with tough cowboy uncles and how that influenced their life and music.

Part 3 includes the chapters “The Rest of My Chest,” “Prairie Gender,” “Gender Identity Interview for Adults (FtM) Questionnaire,” “Man Failure, Part 1,” “Thirteen Inches, Uncut,” and “Man Failure, Part 2." In “The Rest of My Chest” Ivan discusses their decision to have top surgery after 19 years of binding their breasts. In “Prairie Gender” Rae discusses growing up and watching the unfair burden on women they witnessed in the small-town prairie life in Calgary. “Gender Identity Interview for Adults (FtM) questionnaire” is from Ivan, and lists the questions Ivan had to answer when requesting top surgery. “Man Failure, Part 1” talks about starting to identify as not just female, and attempting a lesbian bar but leaving after women reject Rae’s male friends for being there. In “Thirteen Inches, Uncut” Ivan details their first visit to the plastic surgeon for their double mastectomy. In “Man Failure, Part 2,” Rae explains finding out about the trans identity and attempting (and failing) to become male identified.

Part 4 includes the chapters “Top Surgery,” “My Body is a Spaceship,” “Messages to Lynn,” “How to Be a Transgender Country Singer,” “Invested,” and “YouTube Gender.” “Top Surgery” talks about Ivan’s surgery. In “My Body is a Spaceship,” Rae discusses growing up with body issues, struggling with the idea of taking hormones to transition because of the effects on their voice. “Messages to Lynn” is a chapter of messages between Ivan and their friend Lynn about the surgery. In “How to Be a Transgender Country Singer,” Rae discusses the challenge of their identity combined with their music, and the different audiences it attracts. “Invested” is about Ivan’s recovery and a woman and transgender-man he inadvertently helped. In “YouTube Gender” Rae posts a video of them singing and includes a sample of the comments, which mostly question their gender.

Part 5 includes the chapters “Dear Family,” “How to Be a Transgender Indie Rocker,” “A Cautionary Tale,” “How to Be Gay When the Gays Won’t Have You,” “Many Moons," and “Drag Failure.” “Dear Family” is a letter/email Ivan wrote to their family about their top surgery. “How to be a Transgender Indie Rocker” is about Rae going to Germany and trying out the Indie Rocker scene. “Many Moons” is a story about Ivan’s first-time swimming post top surgery. “Drag Failure” is about Rae’s attempt (and failure) at being Cocolene, their short-lived drag identity.

Part 6 includes the chapters “Do I Still Call Myself a Butch,” “How I Got to They,” “The Facilities,” “What Do You Think I Am?”, “Their, There,” and “Touring Success and Touring Failure.” “Do I Still Call Myself a Butch” is just two sentences: “Yes. Of course I still do” (195). “How I Got to They” is about Rae’s embrace of the pronoun they instead of he or she. “The Facilities” is about the challenges of choosing a bathroom when a person is transgender. “What Do You Think I Am” is about Rae on the airplane and how they are treated. “Their, There” is from Ivan’s perspective about the use of grammar and language surrounding identities. “Touring Success and Touring Failure” is about a mixed experience Rae has in a small town in Canada that ultimately ends well.

Part 7 includes the four final chapters of the book - “Between the Boat and the Dock,” “Stories I tell Myself and Others (Gender as Narrative),” “Danger,” and “Gender Retirement." In “Between the Boat and the Dock” Ivan talks about being mistaken for a butch woman, and a transgender man and accepting either label. In “Stories I tell Myself and Others (Gender as Narrative)”, Rae talks about what they have told themselves about their identity throughout their life before ultimately rejecting gender and retiring from it. In “Danger,” Ivan talks about how it can be dangerous to live as a trans person and the constant fear they live in, but how they have learned to overcome it. In the final chapter “Gender Retirement” Rae talks about identifying as gender retired, and their hopes that others will join them in retiring the gender binary.

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