This article explores potentialities for experiencing trans joy via creative praxis, which the author coins “trans failure.” As the author defines it, trans failure builds on examples set by queer failure, such as casting off limiting cultural norms (like binary gender and oppressive framings of what identities should look like), and incorporates new strategies such as deploying play as a means of self-articulating beyond the bounds of what is currently available. Trans failure's use of play has a utopian impulse often achieved via alternating strategies of theatricality, pleasure, collaboration, and experimentation in a mode of enacting alternative worlds and experiencing joy. The article discusses how play, a strategic mode of trans failure, is used to intervene in consumer culture and to work toward self-articulation and the procurement of joy. First, an explanation of gender as we understand it today is sketched out. Then, issues around representations of trans constituencies are discussed as problematically informed by dominant conceptions of gender and perpetuated in mainstream consumer culture. Then two distinct contemporary projects that disrupt the space of consumer culture are analyzed, deploying what the author names a praxis of trans failure in search of creating joy.

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