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Greyson Turner
Greyson Turner

Gender Failure: A Candid and Creative Memoir by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon

Gender Failure: A Book Review

Have you ever felt like you don't fit into the gender binary of male or female? Have you ever wondered how other people cope with their gender identity and expression in a society that expects them to conform to certain norms and stereotypes? If so, you might be interested in reading Gender Failure, a book by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon, two Canadian writers, musicians, and performers who identify as "gender failures".

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In this article, I will give you a brief overview of what Gender Failure is about, why you should read it, and how you can download it as a PDF for free. I will also answer some frequently asked questions about the book and its authors. Let's get started!

What is Gender Failure and who are the authors?

Gender Failure is a collection of autobiographical essays, lyrics, and images that document Ivan and Rae's personal journeys from gender failure to gender enlightenment. The book is based on their acclaimed 2012 live show that toured across Canada, the US, and Europe. In their own words, Ivan and Rae are "both admitted 'gender failures.' In their first collaborative book, Ivan and Rae explore and expose their failed attempts at fitting into the gender binary, and how ultimately our expectations and assumptions around traditional gender roles fail us all."

Ivan E. Coyote is a storyteller, author, and editor who has published eleven books, including six collections of short stories, one novel, one young adult anthology, and three non-fiction books. Ivan's stories grapple with themes such as family, identity, sexuality, class, social justice, and love. Ivan has won several awards for their work, including the ReLit Award, the Stonewall Honor Book Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. Ivan also frequently performs at high schools, universities, and festivals across North America.

Rae Spoon is a singer-songwriter, musician, and author who has released nine solo albums spanning folk, indie rock, and electronic genres. Rae's songs explore topics such as gender identity, sexuality, mental health, religion, and childhood. Rae has been nominated for several awards for their music, including the Polaris Music Prize, the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, and the Galaxy Rising Star Award. Rae's first book, First Spring Grass Fire, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2013.

What are the main themes and stories of Gender Failure?

Gender Failure is divided into four sections: Boy Fails Girl Fails; Bathroom Fails; Wardrobe Malfunctions; and Failures in Love. Each section contains several chapters written by either Ivan or Rae or both. The chapters vary in length, tone, and style, ranging from humorous anecdotes to poignant reflections to poetic lyrics. Some of the stories are accompanied by illustrations or photographs that enhance the narrative.

Some of the themes and stories that Gender Failure covers are:

  • The challenges and joys of growing up as a tomboy or a feminine boy in rural Canada.

  • The experiences and dilemmas of navigating public bathrooms, locker rooms, and airports as a gender non-conforming person.

  • The struggles and discoveries of finding clothes, hairstyles, and accessories that express one's true self.

  • The complexities and dynamics of dating, loving, and breaking up with people of different genders and sexualities.

  • The process and outcome of coming out, transitioning, or rejecting labels and categories altogether.

  • The role and influence of family, friends, community, culture, religion, and media on one's gender identity and expression.

  • The impact and implications of gender violence, discrimination, and oppression on one's mental and physical health and well-being.

  • The power and potential of art, music, storytelling, and activism as tools for resistance, healing, and transformation.

How does the book challenge the gender binary and explore gender identity?

Gender Failure is a book that challenges the gender binary and explores gender identity in multiple ways. Here are some of the ways that the book does so:

  • It showcases the diversity and fluidity of gender identity and expression. Ivan and Rae do not fit into the binary boxes of male or female, man or woman, butch or femme. They use different pronouns (he/she/they), labels (trans/genderqueer/non-binary), and terms (boi/girl/creature) to describe themselves at different times and contexts. They also experiment with different forms of gender expression, such as clothing, makeup, hormones, surgery, and voice. They show that gender is not a fixed or static category, but a dynamic and personal spectrum.

  • It exposes the failures and harms of the gender binary. Ivan and Rae share their stories of how the gender binary has failed them and others in various ways. They reveal how the gender binary creates unrealistic expectations and assumptions around traditional gender roles and stereotypes. They recount how the gender binary causes confusion, frustration, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, fear, isolation, rejection, violence, and trauma for those who do not conform to it. They critique how the gender binary reinforces systems of patriarchy, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, racism, classism, ableism, and colonialism.

What are the main takeaways and recommendations of Gender Failure?

Gender Failure is a book that offers many insights and lessons for readers of all genders and sexualities. Some of the main takeaways and recommendations of the book are:

  • Gender failure is not a flaw or a weakness, but a strength and a gift. Ivan and Rae show that being a gender failure can be a source of creativity, courage, resilience, compassion, wisdom, and freedom. They encourage readers to embrace their own gender failures and celebrate their uniqueness and authenticity.

  • Gender failure is not a solitary or a hopeless journey, but a collective and a hopeful one. Ivan and Rae show that they are not alone in their gender failures, but part of a larger community and history of gender rebels and revolutionaries. They acknowledge the support and solidarity they have received from other gender failures and allies. They also express their hope and vision for a more inclusive and equitable world where gender diversity and expression are respected and valued.

  • Gender failure is not a static or a final destination, but a dynamic and an ongoing process. Ivan and Rae show that their gender failures are not fixed or definitive, but fluid and evolving. They admit that they do not have all the answers or solutions to their gender dilemmas, but they are open to learning and growing from their experiences. They also invite readers to join them in their gender failures and explorations, and to share their own stories and perspectives.

In conclusion, Gender Failure is a book that challenges, exposes, celebrates, and inspires gender failure in all its forms and manifestations. It is a book that will touch, move, educate, entertain, and empower readers who are interested in gender identity and expression. It is a book that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about gender diversity and expression.

Why You Should Read Gender Failure

If you are still not convinced that you should read Gender Failure, here are some more reasons why you should:

Benefits: How can reading Gender Failure enrich your understanding of gender diversity and expression?

Reading Gender Failure can enrich your understanding of gender diversity and expression in many ways. For example, you can:

  • Learn about the personal stories and experiences of two gender non-conforming artists from Canada.

  • Gain insights into the challenges and joys of being a gender failure in various contexts and situations.

  • Discover the diversity and fluidity of gender identity and expression across time, space, culture, and media.

  • Acknowledge the failures and harms of the gender binary on individuals and society.

  • Celebrate the successes and joys of gender failure on personal and collective levels.

  • Expand your vocabulary and awareness of different pronouns, labels, terms, genres, and forms of gender expression.

  • Develop your empathy and compassion for people who do not fit into the gender binary.

  • Challenge your own assumptions and stereotypes about gender roles and norms.

  • Explore your own gender identity and expression in relation to others.

Testimonials: What do other readers and critics say about Gender Failure?

Gender Failure has received many positive reviews from other readers and critics who have praised its honesty, humor, creativity, intelligence, relevance, and impact. Here are some examples of what they have said:

"A powerful collection that will make you laugh out loud one minute before breaking your heart the next." - The Globe And Mail

"A beautiful testament to resilience in the face of oppression." - Publishers Weekly

"A must-read for anyone who has ever felt out of place in the world." - Xtra

"A brilliant exploration of what it means to be human beyond the binary." - Kirkus Reviews

"A book that will change your life for the better." - A reader on

Availability: Where can you find and download Gender Failure online?

and platforms. Here are some of the options you have:

  • You can buy the paperback or Kindle edition of Gender Failure from The paperback edition costs $17.95 and the Kindle edition costs $13.49. You can also read a sample of the book for free on

  • You can borrow the ebook or audiobook of Gender Failure from your local library. You will need a library card and an app such as OverDrive or Libby to access the book. You can also request the book from your library if they don't have it in their collection.

  • You can download the PDF of Gender Failure for free from various websites that offer free ebooks. However, you should be careful when downloading from these sources, as they may contain viruses, malware, or illegal content. You should also respect the authors' rights and not distribute or sell the PDF without their permission.

How to Download Gender Failure PDF for Free

If you want to download Gender Failure PDF for free, you will need to follow some steps and tips to avoid scams, viruses, and legal issues. Here are some of them:

Steps: What are the steps to download Gender Failure PDF for free from various sources?

The steps to download Gender Failure PDF for free may vary depending on the source you choose, but they usually involve these basic steps:

  • Search for Gender Failure PDF on Google or another search engine. You may need to use keywords such as "free", "download", "PDF", or "ebook" to narrow down your results.

  • Select a website that offers Gender Failure PDF for free. You may need to check the website's reputation, reviews, ratings, or comments to see if it is trustworthy and reliable.

  • Click on the link or button that says "Download", "Read Online", "Get This Book", or something similar. You may need to create an account, sign up for a newsletter, complete a survey, or watch an ad to access the download link.

  • Download the PDF file to your device. You may need to scan the file for viruses or malware before opening it. You may also need a PDF reader app such as Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the file.

  • Enjoy reading Gender Failure PDF for free!

Tips: What are some tips to avoid scams, viruses, and legal issues when downloading Gender Failure PDF for free?

The tips to avoid scams, viruses, and legal issues when downloading Gender Failure PDF for free may vary depending on the source you choose, but they usually involve these basic tips:

  • Do not download from websites that look suspicious, unprofessional, or outdated. They may contain harmful or illegal content that could damage your device or compromise your privacy.

  • Do not provide your personal or financial information to websites that ask for it. They may use it to steal your identity, money, or data.

  • Do not click on pop-ups, banners, or links that appear on websites that offer free ebooks. They may redirect you to malicious or phishing sites that could infect your device or trick you into giving away your information.

  • Do not open files that have strange extensions, names, or sizes. They may contain viruses or malware that could harm your device or data.

  • Do not share or sell the PDF file without the authors' permission. They may sue you for copyright infringement or piracy.

  • Do respect the authors' rights and support their work by buying their books if you can afford it. They deserve recognition and compensation for their hard work and creativity.

Alternatives: What are some other ways to access Gender Failure online or offline?

If you do not want to download Gender Failure PDF for free, you can access it in other ways online or offline. Here are some of them:

  • You can read Gender Failure online on websites that offer free ebooks in HTML format. You will need an internet connection and a web browser to access these websites.

  • You can listen to Gender Failure online or offline on websites or apps that offer free audiobooks. You will need an internet connection to stream the audiobook or download it to your device. You will also need a headphone or a speaker to listen to the audiobook.

  • You can buy or borrow Gender Failure in paperback, ebook, or audiobook format from online or offline bookstores or libraries. You will need money or a library card to buy or borrow the book. You will also need a device or a player to read or listen to the book.

FAQs About Gender Failure

Here are some common questions and answers about Gender Failure and its authors:

Q: What is the genre of Gender Failure?

A: Gender Failure is a non-fiction book that combines memoir, essay, lyric, and image. It can be classified as LGBTQ+ literature, gender studies, or cultural studies.

Q: When was Gender Failure published?

A: Gender Failure was published in 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press, an independent Canadian publisher that specializes in LGBTQ+ literature, among other genres.

Q: How long is Gender Failure?

A: Gender Failure is 256 pages long in the paperback edition. It has 28 chapters and four sections.

Q: What are some other books by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon?

A: Some other books by Ivan Coyote are Bow Grip, The Slow Fix, Tomboychick, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, and Care Of. Some other books by Rae Spoon are First Spring Grass Fire, Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon Are Going To Europe!, and Trouble In The Camera Eye.

Q: Where can I find more information about Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon?

A: You can find more information about Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon on their official websites, social media accounts, YouTube channels, or Wikipedia pages. You can also watch their live shows, listen to their music, read their articles, or contact them directly.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about Gender Failure and its authors. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for your time and attention! 71b2f0854b


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