As a dyke I am well-versed in sexual secrets. I've seen every kind of closet, and the hurt and shame that often fill them. I'm suspicious of silence, and have always been hell-bent on busting it open. The doctors may or may not be able to help us get pregnant these days, but at least, if even only through the written/web page, we can be there for each other.
This is from Karleen Pendleton Jiménez's essay "The Fertility Closet," posted on 49th Shelf earlier this year. Read the full piece here.
I'd heard about Karleen's memoir, How To Get a Girl Pregnant (Tightrope Books)—all raves—each delivered by a woman even more different than the last, of interest because Karleen's memoir is about her singular experience as a butch-identified queer woman trying to get pregnant. Yet, as she states above, the struggle for women trying to get pregnant is hardly uncommon.
About the book: How to Get a Girl Pregnant is a frank and funny memoir about a dyke 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.
Karleen and I Skyped about her book, butch identity, fertility clinics, and the best part of trying to get pregnant: sex. (There's some seriously saucy stuff in these pages!)
If you liked this video and How To Get a Girl Pregnant, you might also dig Who's Your Daddy: And Other Writings on Queer Parenting, with contributions from Elizabeth Ruth, Anne Fleming, Diane Flacks, Emma Donaghue, Karleen Pendleton Jiménez, and many others.
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez is the screenwriter of the award-winning film Tomboy, and the author for the children's book Are You a Boy or a Girl?, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She is a professor of education at Trent University. Raised in LA, having lived in Berkeley and San Diego, she now makes her home in Toronto.
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