By Ivan Coyote
Tomboy Survival Guide is a funny and moving memoir told in stories, about how they learned to embrace their tomboy past while carving out a space for those of us who don’t fit neatly into boxes or identities or labels.
Ivan writes about their years as a young butch, dealing with new infatuations and old baggage, and life as a gender-box-defying adult, in which they offer advice to young people while seeking guidance from others. (And for tomboys in training, there are even directions on building your very own unicorn trap.)
Tomboy Survival Guide warmly recounts Ivan’s past as a diffident yet free-spirited tomboy, and maps their journey through treacherous gender landscapes and a maze of labels that don’t quite stick, to a place of self-acceptance and an authentic and personal strength. ~ synopsis from Amazon.ca
What Happened at Book Club …
Tonight we discussed Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote. It’s one of those books that remind us of the value of book club. In all likelihood most of us would never have read this book or heard of its author were it not for the beautiful, interesting and fearless women of our book club.
Tomboy Survival Guide is a collection of beautifully written stories about the humerous, painful and absurd situations the author faces navigating the world where there are only 2 boxes to choose from – male or female. Through Ivan’s perspective we get a glimpse of how gender identity and not fitting in one, or the other, plays out day to day.
This was a great discussion but an uncomfortable one. There were many things we learned tonight, thanks in large part to the members of our group who are familiar/affiliated with the LGBT community:
- they, them & their may replace he, she / him, her when speaking to, or about transgender person. If you’re not sure ask! As lines of the boxes are blurred, choices about these things are made by each individual, and might change as each person evolves, physically, psychologically, spiritually.
- gender and sexuality are distinctly different things
- knowing without having to think about it that you are a man or you are a woman is a luxury
- simple changes can make a huge difference – i.e. gender neutral bathrooms
- a society without gender identity or gender roles may be possible
- are we really open and accepting if nothing is required from us, and we can stay within our comfort zone?
We all enjoyed this book and the discussion around it – like a movie you think about long after you’ve left the theatre.
Thank you to our host for a fantastic book choice, the and for the yummy treats. You done good!