cover of How to Get a Girl Pregnant by Karleen Pendleten Jiménez

“I love a fearless writer, a writer who has the courage to pry back their skin and flesh and bone and reveal their real-life heart: thumping and bloody and vulnerable. I love a true story, and I love a truly honest story even more. This true story is both a love song to bringing a life into the world and a map through the almost uncharted territory of butch pregnancy. Karleen Pendleton Jiménez tackles topics like mortality, family, race, queerness, and sperm with the best tools in the box: a sense of humour and the sensibilities of a great storyteller.”
—Ivan Coyote, author of Missed Her and Bow Grip

“You’re a butch woman, a bulldagger, an outlier, and your maternal instincts are a strong as Betty Crocker. Whaddya do when you want to get pregnant on the double without a lot of heterosexual handwringing and bourgeois p.c. angst?

“You listen to Karleen Jimenez tell you, that’s what! And laugh and cry along with her. This book IS the antidote to all those dreary, by-the-numbers books and pamphlets about how to inseminate, how to get sperm motility, all the legal issues... yes yes we KNOW all that but can’t someone get to the heart of it all? Someone who isn’t plagued with square anxieties, who has a vision about loving that can't quit?

“Love this book. Buy it for your mommy’s-to-be, they’ll THANK YOU.”

—Susie Bright

“With humour, compassion, and intelligence, Jimenez chronicles the most elemental of human quests”
—Karen Shenfeld, author of My Father’s Hands Spoke in Yiddish

How to Get a Girl Pregnant
by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

ISBN-10: 1-926639-40-5 ISBN-13: 978-1-926639-40-6
Publisher: Tightrope books

How to Get a Girl Pregnant is a frank and funny memoir about a lesbian trying to get pregnant.

Karleen Pendleton Jiménez has known that she was gay since she was three years old and wanted to have a baby for almost as long. But how is a butch Chicana lesbian supposed to get sperm? Picking up men at nightclubs and restaurants? Asking queer male friends for a donation? Using sperm banks dominated by blue-eyed and blond-haired donors?

This candid and humorous memoir follows Karleen’s challenges, adventures, successes, failures, humiliations, and triumphs while attempting to fulfill her dream of giving birth to a child. It is a confession of desire, humility, and the search for perfection.

It’s available anywhere. Just ask your local bookstore to order it, or order online.

FYI: Here’re some interviews about the writing of the book:

La Bloga

Las Perlas del Mar (YouTube)


Radio Canada International

Also feel free to visit my facebook site if you’d like more info.

And finally for the academics out there, here’s a scholarly description:

In this memoir, I deconstruct normative conceptions of fertility and pregnancy. I explore the influence of gender and ethnic identities (butch and Chicana) on my desire to become pregnant, and on the lived conditions of reproduction. My body, at the intersection of gender and ethnicity, produces knowledge. Springgay and Freedman (2008) argue that bodies can serve a primary role in the development of curriculum because, “It is this ability of bodies to always extend the frameworks which attempt to contain them, to remain permeable and uncertain” (p. xviii) that offers us new and risky information about the world (If we are willing to pay attention, to take notice of our skin, even as traditional schooling practices would have us do otherwise (hooks, 1994)). It is knowledge that becomes even more significant when facing the “expert” knowledge of doctors, clinics, and the fertility industry. It is knowledge that aids in the navigation of the social codes in bars, or the meaning of relationships with friends/possible donors. I am interested in what is learned during a time period when the body craves creation.

I consider notions of butch idealized masculinity, such as chivalry and perseverance, in relation to reproduction, and as well, consider the assumptions of pregnancy as an expression of idealized femininity. How does gender socialization and identity shape one’s experience of fertility? How does one’s sense of individual power, and desire transform through reproduction? How does ethnicity, and specifically my conception of Chicanisma, offer me guidance in the creation of family? How do Chicana conceptions of family and home contribute to the courage to get pregnant?

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge

S. Springgay & D. Freedman (2008) Introduction: On touching and a bodied curriculum. In S. Sringgay & D. Freedman (Eds.), Curriculum and the cultural body (pp. xvii-xxvii). NY: Peter Lang.

cover of Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes by Karleen Pendleten Jiménez

Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes
by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

ISBN-10: 143312694X ISBN-13: 978-1433126949
Publisher: Peter Lang Inc.

Have you ever been told that you’re too girlish or too boyish? We are all potential targets of the gender police, some more so than others. And how did you respond? Did you hide or change or rebel or hurt or gleefully celebrate your style? Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes is a study that brings together gender stories from approximately 600 children and youth. Set in both urban and rural contexts, these young people show how their schools and communities respond to their bodies, passions, and imaginations. As one 13-year-old student expresses, “My flowered jeans make me feel happy because they represent the sort of feminine side to me and at the same time show my masculine side. They also make me feel like I’m a part of a large force that stands up to bullying and criticism, to express themselves and to show the world that our lives have meaning.”

In this book, student writings are framed by teaching strategies and gender theory, featuring themes of sports, film, media, landscape, joyfulness, and gender creativity. The research will be of great interest to university students in the fields of education, gender, sexuality and women’s studies, sociology, social work, psychology, counseling, and child development. This book is ideal for teachers, professors, parents, and community members who hope to create accepting environments for gender diversity.

to buy:


“Karleen Pendleton Jiménez draws out the words of young people, offering them space to define gender on their own terms. Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes is an important, exciting, and accessible contribution to the study of gender diversity within social justice education.” (Tara Goldstein, Author of Zero Tolerance and Other Plays: Disrupting Xenophobia, Racism and Homophobia in School)

“Karleen Pendleton Jiménez’s research blows the doors off of the traditional gender stereotypes in rural Ontario, and by extension, in North America. Through giving air to student voice, educators are reminded that through our words, actions, and learning activities, we can either allow those voices to resound from the treetops or quash them. How often do we create opportunities in our classrooms or public spaces to showcase student work to embrace alternative expressions of gender? Pendleton Jiménez’s research provides us with the answer: not nearly often enough. As educators, we need to ask ourselves why not and engage in conversations with our colleagues and community members on how to present both traditional and creative gender expression as valid and valued.” (Mandi Kofira, Elementary FSL [French as a Second Language] Teacher)

“This book is filled with invaluable glimpses of how this upcoming generation experiences and imagines gender. Nothing simple here! From the young people’s own words and from the theoretical sections we begin to see gender as neither binary nor even on a spectrum but as the spectacular constellation it always was.” (Hershel Russell, MEd., R.P., Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant)

“In an innovative centering of children’s stories and experiences with gender, Karleen Pendleton Jiménez’s important study of over 600 elementary schoolchildren pushes our thinking about schools and the pedagogies of surveillance that discipline young people into heteronormative subjects. This book will be helpful for teachers, researchers, and administrators to rethink the role that schools play in the everyday regulation of gender.” (Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor of Education, University of California Santa Cruz)

“Karleen Pendleton Jiménez is one of those rare teachers willing to make themselves vulnerable in order to foster learning among students. Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes ranges from theoretical insights to practical lesson plans, and is rooted in a sense of place – rural Ontario. Most importantly, it conveys the voices of youth as they struggle to understand, shape, and challenge the construction of gender in their lives.” (Tim McCaskell, Activist and Author of Race to Equity: Disrupting Educational Inequality)

academic journal reviews:

Teachers College Record

Sex Roles | Research Gate

cover of Are You a Boy or a Girl? by Karleen Pendleten Jiménez

Finalist, Lambda Literary Award 2000
Are You a Boy or a Girl?
by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Kids spend a lot of time debating with each other over what makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl. It’s a time of choices. It’s a time of creating themselves. It could be a time for blending and embracing the many ways they express themselves, but it is too often a time of narrowing the possibilities of who they can be. Are You a Boy or a Girl? enters into this conversation and opens it up. It is the story of a child thinking through who she is, a child learning through her mother’s love how to be both strong and soft.

ISBN: 1-896781-14-4

genre: children’s book
bibliographic info:
Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2000). Are you a boy or a girl? Toronto: Green Dragon Press.

to purchase a copy contact Green Dragon Press

book reviews:

Pride & Joy, Fall 2004

Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, Volume 1, Issue 2 December 2003

cover of Unleashing the Unpopular by Isabel Killoran and Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Unleashing the Unpopular
by Isabel Killoran and Karleen Pendleton Jiménez (Eds.)

This new publication is a unique teacher education resource that strives to improve understanding of issues related to sexual orientation, gender diversity, and education, and how they affect students, teachers, schools, and the community. Personal narratives offer insight into experiences of LGBT students and teachers in schools. These narratives and essays are offered as an invitation to make room for the questions and discussion that will hopefully lead to more equitable communities. The authors discuss barriers to successfully supporting LGBT students, teachers, and parents; and explore the reasons behind action or inaction, the effects of not having supportive policy around LGBT issues, and possible solutions to the concerns. Educators share their successes and failures in their attempts to address gender diversity and sexual orientation in the classroom and/or school community. They provide strategies for introducing, supporting, and engaging students in dialogue, advocacy, and arts-based activities.

ISBN-10: 0871731711
ISBN-13: 978-0871731715

genre: refereed edited book
bibliographic info:
Killoran, I. & Pendleton Jiménez, K. (Eds.). (2007). “Unleashing the unpopular”: Talking about sexual orientation and gender diversity in education. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.

to purchase a copy contact ACEI

book review:

Education Forum, Spring 2009