Gender Failure: Words and music about how gender fails us all – Featuring Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon
Carleton University’s English Department is set to host an important and relevant event on the binary structure of gender. The event is titled ‘Gender Failure’, and will feature a performance by two prominent queer-identified artists, including Ivan Coyote, who was Carleton’s writer-in-residence for 2007-2008.
“Our goal with Gender Failure is to mix narrative and music to create a conversation that is never the same show twice,” explains Coyote. “We hope to entertain, first, and then get people thinking and questioning the gender binary. Is it working for them? Where does it pinch? Is it largely constructed by us, and how, and why, and how are we complicit, or resisting it?”
Born and raised in Whitehorse, Coyote is an award winning artist who believes in the power of sharing our stories and experiences with one another. Working in a variety of mediums, she has authored a variety of short stories and one novel, has released four short films, and is an acclaimed live storyteller.
Coyote is celebrated as a live performer whose collaboration with musicians intricately weaves music and storytelling to inspire a sincere, diverse emotional response and understanding from her audience.
Coyote’s skill to relate to her audience is intrinsically connected to her profound curiosity in the lives of others. In 2007, while serving as Carleton’s writer in residence, Coyote taught classes on memoir writing to senior citizens. It was these classes, and the enthralled response from her students that helped Coyote to realize her ‘true calling’ – encouraging elders to document their lives.
“While I was at Carleton I really cemented my love of working with seniors. I taught three memoir writing classes of seniors, and I am still in touch with some of them to this day.”
Coyote’s other core focus is a pursuit to limit discrimination. She has participated in multiple anti-bullying awareness campaigns, has released a short story collection for queer youth called One in Every Crowd, and was featured in Dan Savage’s essay collection It Gets Better.
Watch Coyote discuss an Ottawa experience
Coyote’s love of teaching and creative writing will be on display at Gender Failure, where she will be collaborating with prominent singer-songwriter and creative writer Rae Spoon.
Based out of Montreal, Spoon is a transgendered musician who has transcended the typical boundaries associated with the concept of music genre. Spoon has travelled the world performing original songs while simultaneously transitioning from a country artist to an award winning, electronic music ace. Spoon’s first book, First Spring Grass Fire, has just been released by Arsenal Pulp Press. It is a collection of stories that, amongst other themes, illustrates the evolution of queer Alberta.
Gender Failure will challenge the concept of gender binarism – the societal construct that posits gender as two distinct, unbending roles. On Thursday, November 22nd, Spoon and Coyote will use their captivating artistic talents to highlight the consequences of this unnecessary rigidity.
Funded by the FASS Endowment (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Department of English, Sexuality Studies (IIS), Department of Law and Legal Studies, Centre for Initiatives in Education, Department of Psychology, and Equity Services