‘How to Get a Girl Pregnant’ is a heartwarming memoir about a butch lesbian’s journey to motherhood

How to Get a Girl Pregnant is a heartwarming, humorous and candid memoir by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez  that was published by Tightrope Books in 2011. If you are a lesbian couple hoping to have a baby, a butch woman or someone in love with one, or a two-mom family of any kind, really, you’ll relate to this book.

Karleen has wanted to have a baby for as long as she can remember. But one crucial element was missing in the life of the butch Chicana lesbian — the sperm. Though at times lighthearted, such as when Karleen considers all of the potential options for fertilization — some anonymous, some not — it is a weighty topic, and one that will change her life forever.

The memoir is now being made into an animated short film, made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation and LIFT (Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto). Author Karleen Pendleton Jiménez is collaborating with animator Barb Taylor on the project and based on the trailer, it’s a wonderful and moving addition to the book, and great to watch with your children – or future children!  Watch:

Here are two excerpts from the original memoir, which we highly recommend, as its a must-read for same-sex families, and bi and multi-racial/mixed families as well.  The book is available on Amazon.

“From How to Get a Girl Pregnant by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez (Tightrope Books, 2011). Reproduced with permission of Tightrope Books.”

The problem is that I have no idea how to look like someone who wants sperm. I know how to get a girl. I’ve mastered the lesbian cues, expectations, desires—Damn, I want the woman in the tight black miniskirt drinking the Corona at the end of the bar. I could watch her carefully, buy her another one just as she finishes, and then move in.

Knock it off. Focus on the men. I scan the room. Assessing men for their sperm is difficult for even the most politically astute of lesbians. What is it exactly I should look for, or avoid, in a sperm donor? In a bar, with only a few minutes to judge a potential father, I am a sucker for the superficial.

The author also speaks candidly about issues that face butch women specifically, and it makes us fall in love with her even more. She writes,

I didn’t know until that moment that I wanted a baby, but when asked the question, there was no hesitation. I knew that I wanted a baby like I knew I wanted to breathe, eat, live. I spoke it and that truth became part of how I have seen myself in the world.

I also learned in that moment that my appearance, my boyishness, would lead people to believe otherwise. As a butch, I would alarm proper women like my mother, who would see me as someone who wasn’t going to make a family, make babies, make a home.

More from the film creators:

About Co-Director and Scriptwriter:  Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Karleen recently completed the short film Butch Coyolxauhqui (2016) looking at queer body image, fatphobia, and reclamation.  Karleen has written three books: Are You a Boy or a Girl? (2000), How to Get a Girl Pregnant (2011) and Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes (2016). The first two were finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. She is the screenwriter for the award-winning animation short Tomboy.  Her short stories and personal essays have been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, including “Downtown” in Queers Were Here: Heroes and Icons of Queer Canada (2016), “Letter to My Queer Family,” in Women Writing Letters (2015), “‘Tell Them You’re a Mexican,’ and Other Motherly Advice” in Mother of Invention (2013), “A Beautiful Creature” in Persistence: Still Butch and Femme (2011), “Little White Children: Notes From a Chicana Dyke Dad” in Who’s Your Daddy? And Other Writings on Queer Parenting (2009). She is currently teaching at Trent University.

About Co-Director and Animator: Barb Taylor

Animator Barb Taylor has created a number of award winning short films and innovative digital stories. Her film Tomboy which explores bullying and gender expression was the recipient of the CBC Canadian Reflection Award, Inside Out Up and Coming Artist Award and Audience Award Reeling Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Chicago among others. Barb is currently completing a hand painted animated short Bobbi & Sheelagh, a portrait of a young woman who overcomes her fears when she meets a mythological creature. In early 2016 Barb was artist in residence at Clones Art Studio in Ireland to research the character Queen Maeve. Previous work includes the short animated film Peaceosaurus created in conjunction with the York University Children as Peacemakers program. Barb is the recipient of the Corus Innovation Award for the creation of a tween online radio station and a Webby Honoree for her work on the CBC Massey Lectures’ website based on Lawrence Hill’s book Blood the Stuff of Life. She has extensive experience in broadcasting as manager of national radio websites for both Corus Entertainment and CBC.

Alex Castillo will voice the role of Alex, a lesbian woman anxious to have a baby. Castillo is well known to television, best known currently for her role as Louise in Mary Kills People.

Jose Arias will lend his voice to Mateo, Alex’s friend. Arias’ filmography includes great guest appearances in such tv shows as Degrassi (2012), Alphas (2012), Rookie Blue (2014).

Lido Pimienta is a Polaris winning Columbian-Canadian musician who will lend her voice to the musical backdrop of the film.

Kate Reid is a Canadian Folk Music Award nominee and activist who will add her own flair to the film’s music.