Ivan Coyote: Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms
Ivan Coyote - Writer, performer
Ivan Coyote believes that a good story can help inspire us to invent a better future. Full bio
that all of us need.
We need shelter and love.
into the gender binary,
of mainstream media attention lately.
has been focused
anymore about where they're going to pee
at their community college,
into their gym strip
these television star trans people
have to tackle on a daily basis.
since as far back as I can remember,
predominantly estrogen-based organism.
public bathrooms and change rooms
to be questioned or harassed.
attacked behind their doors.
with my pants still halfway pulled up.
screamed at, whispered about,
by a little old lady's purse
I took home that day
70 dollars of rolled up small change
most of the time these days.
my change room dilemmas, does it?
because I'm not a man.
these fearmongering politicians
these bathroom bills.
to try and force people like myself
that they deem most appropriate
I was assigned at birth.
ever get their way,
will not be a legal option for me either.
brings one of these bills to the table,
go about enforcing laws like these. Right?
of bath change rooms at public pools?
or ethical or plausible way
more dangerous for some of us.
or they opt out of life altogether.
and gender-nonconforming youth
when accessing pools and gyms,
on how they treat us in airports.
into one of two gender boxes,
She's the daughter of a friend of mine.
and bug jars, the whole nine yards.
what her favorite color was.
at school were harassing her
to stay out of the boys' bathroom.
of that red juice
that red juice, right? It's so good.
were four years old.
of the so-called public bathrooms.
the brutal lesson
no bathroom door at preschool
that welcomed people like her.
were going to be a problem,
to talk to her little daughter,
were going to march on down
and the problem was going to go away,
going to get better when she got older,
the story of what had happened,
what had happened to her,
if I had ever peed in my pants before.
how you hit, like, 42 or 43,
I don't know, you pee a little bit
or you're stretching.
your bladder is going to grow bigger, too.
to hold your pee for way longer,
into your gym clothes.
a safe and private place
who is sitting out there right now
in your head why this is not a priority,
a trans person a safe place to pee
that you feel offends your morality,
that probably, hopefully,
the rest of the population.
to care enough about people like me,
with body image stuff going on?
who is a foot shorter than his classmates,
or who need assistance in there?
who, for whatever reason,
of what a body should look like?
in front of our peers,
transphobic minds overnight,
About the Speaker:Ivan Coyote - Writer, performer
Ivan Coyote believes that a good story can help inspire us to invent a better future.
Why you should listen
Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of eight collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer, Ivan’s first love is live storytelling. Over the last nineteen years, they have become an audience favorite at music, poetry, spoken word and writer’s festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.
Ivan began performing in 1992, and in 1996 co-founded Taste This, a four person performance troupe that combined live music, storytelling and performance poetry to create a text-driven genre-busting collaborative exchange. Taste This toured North America extensively and in 1998 the four artists published Boys Like Her, a critically acclaimed book that took the stage show to the printed page. Boys Like Her sold out three editions and continues to be considered a notable Canadian contribution to the dialogue around gender identity and sexuality.
Ivan teamed up with Arsenal Pulp Press in 2000, and has since released nine more books. Close to Spiderman (2000), One Man’s Trash (2002), Loose End (2005), Bow Grip (2006), The Slow Fix (2008), Missed Her (2010), Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (2011), One In Every Crowd (2012) and Gender Failure (2014).
Ivan is still fascinated by the intersection of storytelling and music, and works with a number of well-established Canadian musicians, including pianist and composer Veda Hille, songwriter Dan Mangan, folk artist Rae Spoon, cellist Cris Derksen, and violinist Lyndell Montgomery. Ivan has released three CDs of storytelling with music, You’re A Nation (2003) and You Are Here (2007) and Only Two Reasons (2010).
In 2001 Ivan landed a little gig teaching short fiction at Capilano University in North Vancouver. This little night school class led to an accidental discovery: Ivan loves to teach creative writing. Coyote continued to teach short fiction and classes and workshops, and in 2007 was invited to become Carleton University’s writer-in-residence. While in Ottawa, Coyote taught a third year fiction class, and three memoir-writing classes for senior citizens. It was while teaching seniors that Ivan realized their true calling. Ivan strongly believes in listening to the stories of our elders, and encouraging them to write down their lives.
Coyote has since been honoured to be the writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library (2009), The Carol Shield’s writer-in-residence at the University of Winnipeg (2011) and the writer-in-residence at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario (2012).
In addition to these literary and teaching accomplishments, Ivan continues to tour extensively throughout North America and Europe, telling stories not only to festival audiences but to high school students, social justice activists, adult literacy students and senior citizens all across the continent. Ivan believes in the transformative power of storytelling, and that collecting and remembering oral history not only preserves a vital part of our families and where we come from, but that a good story can help inspire us to invent a better future.