Gender failures … aren’t we all?

No, 200

Greetings Flannel Files followers. If you haven’t been keeping track at home, this is the 200th post of your all-time favorite blog.  With the word “flannel” in the title.  C’mon, you know it’s true.

I’ve been racking my freshly sheared noggin trying to figure out what to write about for the big 200.

And then it hit me square in the head.


It was like I had been slocked (struck by a sock containing a lock).  (Who’s been watching too much Orange Is the New Black?  This butch.)

This butch says buy this book.

This butch says buy this book.

I just finished up Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon.  Read the whole thing over the course of two days.  This is what I thought when I first started reading: Wow, someone has actually written a book just for me.  The book will make you laugh and cry and think and, if you’ve ever been mystified or conflicted about your own gender, it will make you feel not so alone.  The moral of the story is that gender comes in more than two sizes.  Butch is the Big Gulp of all genders, if you ask me.

Ultimately, Rae Spoon decides to retire from gender.  I have pondered this idea about retiring from gender.  Do you get a pocket watch or a wall clock?  Is there cake?  Because if I’m going to retire from gender, I want cake.


Pick one.

Mostly, I wonder how a person can retire from gender when the world revolves around a dual gender system.  Clothes are purchased in the men’s department or the women’s department.  We check a box marked M or a box marked F when filling out forms.

I must say though that there is something appealing and freeing about not giving a damn.

On being a butch, Ivan writes:

“Older butch sightings in airports make me feel like I am part of an army.  A quiet, button-down, peacekeeping brigade that nods instead of saluting.  Silver hair and eye wrinkles are earned instead of stripes or medals.”

Ivan Coyote might be one of the most beautiful people in the world.

So, yeah, read the book if you haven’t already.  Read it if you are gender queer or if your partner is or if you know someone who identifies outside the gender binary.  Or read it because you’re a human being and open to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

* * *

Have you read Gender Failure or any other books by Ivan Coyote or Rae Spoon?  Thoughts?


18 responses to “Gender failures … aren’t we all?

  1. Read Gender Failure and really liked it. There are so few books out there that deal with what it is really like being on the queer/butch/transgender spectrum. The academic ones are all bogged down in post-modern doublespeak.
    I’m hoping that your memoir gets published to add to the oeuvre of well written real life butch experiences. And congrats on the 200th post. That is epic.

    • Yeah, I was reading something the other day about how this area of literature is so undeveloped. Hoping that plays in my favor in trying to shop around my book. I had an agent request extra pages, so I’m trying to stay optimistic. It’s a lot of waiting around right now with crossed fingers and other body parts.

  2. Thanks! I was wondering what to read next. Congrats on hitting the 200 mark.

  3. Happy 200th Blog-O-versary … Yaaaaaay! … *waves arms like Kermit* 😀

  4. I absolutely loved Ivan and Rae’s collaboration on Gender Failures. And like you, I thought OMG a book just for ME! My feeling quite positive that Butch IS my gender, the book resonated deeply. One day I hope to pull all of my stories together into a similar compilation….and reading this book has just affirmed to me that we are legion.

    • I’ve been thinking of butch as a gender these days. Maybe I will start crossing out M and F and start writing in B on forms, etc. Hope you do write a book someday. Our stories need to be told!

  5. Reblogged this on MainelyButch: Butch Lesbian Perspectives and commented:
    Congratualtions to The Flannel Files on their 200th post….and how appropriate that it be about Gender and Ivan & Rae’s latest collaboration on Gender Failures. A must read for everyone about the complexity of gender presentation and walking in the Butch world.

  6. Femme Fairy Godmother

    Congrats on 200 posts! 🙂

  7. Who knew? I was skimming through my ‘Reader’ list before heading to buy some books on-line. This one makes the cut. As a hopeless heterosexual, I often wonder about my friends, clients and fellow human beings who don’t fit neatly into the skirted or pantsed (that’s a word in blog-land) bathroom signs. Thanks for the post and the reading suggestion!

    • Cool. Glad I could be of assistance. And I think it’s really awesome that you “as a hopeless heterosexual” would give Gender Failure a go. Interested to hear what you think. Happy reading!

  8. You have successfully added a book to my to read list.

  9. “Gender Failure” is perfect for your 200th post. When I read it, I felt the connection with myself through Ivan and Rae. I still need to find words to describe my gender. I’ve tried on gender non-conforming and non-binary. Part of me likes just “gender failure” or “other.” Most of me likes just “me.” When i disclosed to folks about my recent top surgery, I described my transition (what it has been, is, and will be) as transitioning from me to me. i was amazed when one of my friends used that exact phrasing for me without me saying it. She said, I see this as “you to you.” If only it were that easy–that all folks would see us as ourselves, without labels.

    Anyway, congrats on your 200th post! This is my first time commenting, but I always enjoy reading.

    • Thanks for commenting and, as always, for reading. Labels schmabels. You are you and that’s all there is to it. These day, I’m just trying to focus on being the best me that I can be. Whatever that might be called. Super butch or something along those lines.

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Gender Failure. It sounds so interesting and definitely goes on my to-read list. Sending good thoughts and keeping fingers crossed for your book’s path to publication!

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