Gender Failure Book Photo
Courtesy of Huron University College

Students can expect ample opportunity for discussion in the coming months about contemporary issues and LGBTQ progress on campus.

Ivan Coyote, co-author of this year’s Huron1Read featured book, Gender Failure, is set to speak at Huron University College on Sept. 28. Coyote is an award-winning writer, spoken word performer and LGBTQ advocate who will share their personal challenges as a transgender person.

Sean Yauk, Huron University College Students' Council's vice president of student affairs, explains that the Huron1Read program is a community reading opportunity meant to help students engage with work that evokes thought around a contemporary issue. The book was distributed among Huron students and faculty over the summer to elicit early discussion.

Gender Failure is a novel that myself and a few of my colleagues had on our radar … simply because it’s a very different piece of work itself,” Yauk says. “The work is not a novel, but rather a collection of stories and lyrics and poetry and images that all relate to the topic of gender and encapsulate what gender means in a contemporary landscape,” he adds.

Not only will Coyote’s visit be timely for students who’ve engaged in the reading, it coincides with University Students' Council initiatives to improve inclusivity on campus as well.

University Students' Council vice-president, Landon Tulk, says the USC has identified the inclusion of gender-neutral bathrooms as a priority on campus.

“In the next few weeks, we hope to see students engaging with the topic by talking to their student leaders,” says Tulk. “Whether that’s through faculty council presidents, USC councillors or the USC executive, we want to hear student feedback about the steps to creating inclusive space here at Western.”

Tulk also notes the raising of the Transgender Pride Flag, which will take place on Concrete Beach Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Yauk hopes that students who attend Coyote’s talk will come to have a deeper understanding of what gender means to them and other individuals. He notes that this has already proven successful at a roundtable discussion held during O-Week.

When students have described what the book means to them, Yauk said one takeaway is that gender does not always assign itself to the simple binary that we assume.

Gender Failure in and of itself has evoked so much thought and emotion among students simply because some individuals assume that it is people who fall outside of the gender binary who are failing gender," he says. "But rather it might be those individuals who are being failed by gender as a whole.” 

Coyote will speak at 2 p.m. in the Kingsill Room at Huron University College. Students are encouraged to visit the Huron website for more information.

Correction (Sept. 15, 2:12 p.m.): a previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Ivan Coyote. The author's preferred personal pronoun is "they/their." The Gazette regrets this error.

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Culture Editor

Amy is a second year English and Visual Arts student in Western's faculty of Arts and Humanities. This is her first year as a culture editor at the Gazette. For comments or feedback, email her at amy.skodak@westerngazette.ca.

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