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Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Writer, Filmmaker, Professor
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photo credit: Jesse Cook

KARLEEN PENDLETON JIMÉNEZ is the author of Lambda Literary Award finalists Are You a Boy or a Girl? and How to Get a Girl Pregnant; Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes; her new middle grade book The Street Belongs to Us, and numerous short stories and essays. She wrote the award-winning animated film Tomboy and has been recognized by the 

American Library Association and the Vice Versa Awards for Excellence in the Gay and Lesbian Press. She is professor of education, gender, and social justice at Trent University. Raised in Los Angeles, she lives in Toronto with her partner and daughter.



The Street Belongs to Us
Arsenal Pulp Press, May 2021


A sweet middle-grade chapter book about two best friends who transform their torn-up street into a world where imaginations can run wild.

   In 1984 Los Angeles, Alex is a tomboy who would rather wear her hair short and her older brother's hand-me-downs, and Wolf is a troubled kid who's been wearing the same soldier's uniform ever since his mom died. They temporarily set their worries aside when their street is torn up by digging machines and transformed into a muddy wonderland with endless possibilities. To pass the hot summer days, the two best friends seize the opportunity to turn Muscatel Avenue into a battleground and launch a gleeful street war against the rival neighbourhood kids.

   But when Alex and Wolf make their headquarters inside a deep trench, Alex's grandmother warns them that some buried things want to be found and some want to stay hidden and forgotten. Although she has the wisdom of someone who has survived the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Flu, and immigration to a new country, the kids ignore her warning, unearthing more than they bargained for.

   The exuberant and expressive line drawings by Gabriela Godoy perfectly capture the summers of youth, when anything feels possible and an adventure is always around the corner. Bursting with life and feeling, both the people and the land come alive in a tale interwoven with Mexican-American identity, experience, and history. The Street Belongs to Us is a story of family, friendship, and unconditional acceptance, even when it breaks your heart.

Ages 8 to 12.

Note: A NOVEL UNIT PLAN  is  being created and will be available by Januaury 2022

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Are You a Girl or a Boy?

20th Anniversary Edition

Two Ladies Press (2020)

trilingual (English/Español/Français)

For Free PDF   

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. This book 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.

tomboys and other gender heroes

Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes: Confessions from the Classroom

Peter Lang (2016)

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.

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How to Get a Girl Pregnant

Tightrope Books (2011)
for free pdf 

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.

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"Unleashing the Unpopular"

Talking about Sexual Orientation

and Gender Diversity in Education


by editors Isabel Killoran & Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Association for Childhood International (2007)

In 2006, Isabel Killoran and Karleen Pendleton Jiménez  grappled with the question of why more teachers did not use LGBTQ resources in their lessons and classrooms.  If LGBTQ resources were now readily available through the internet, what stopped teachers from accessing them.  In "Unleashing the Unpopular," we asked authors to write those difficult stories from their lives that might push reluctant teachers to move forward.  We wanted the writing to be beautiful, well-crafted stories that would stick with readers and inspire them.  We  acknowledge that bringing forward LGBTQ issues in the classroom can sometimes be risky work for educators. As human beings exposed to homophobic indoctrination it is a challenge to grapple with our own fears or prejudices. We hope that these stories provide the type of personal perspective needed for genuine connection and understanding. 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. Such dialogue is the basis for critical pedagogy where we do not accept the status quo but push to eliminate the barriers and boundaries that restrict us.



How to Get a Girl 


(web series)

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Dancing on a Rainbow: Notes from a Butch Prof

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Butch Coyolxauhqui

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Director: Barb Taylor

Screenwriter: Karleen Pendleton Jiménez


How to Get a Girl Pregnant is a frank and funny memoir about a dyke trying to get pregnant. First a book and now a short animated film.

Author 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 a sperm bank?

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.


Based on Karleen’s memoir of the same name, the series will challenge gender, sexuality and family norms through the narrative of a Chicana butch/trans dyke asking her Latino gay friend for sperm. The story is also a recognition of the value of queer Latinx lives, in spite of, and in resistance to, North American racism. 


For more info, see:  &



(5 min: 2020)

Writer/Director: Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

A short, playful, sexy video about a butch dyke/trans professor in teacher education.
















(4 min: 2016)

Writer/Director: Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Black & White Photography: Hilary Cellini Cook


This short film looks at queer imagery, fat-phobia, and reclamation through autobiographical narrative, black and white photography, and stop motion animation.


In Aztec mythology, the goddess Coyolxauhqui was severed into pieces by her brother, the god of war.  This film recounts the lessons learned by a queer daughter from her round mother’s body, framed by the story of Coyolxauhqui. It opens with a bright gold and turquois rendering of the goddess breaking apart and trailing off the screen.  It is quickly replaced by black and white photos of Pendleton Jiménez as a child beside her mother. She describes the comfort of snuggling into her mother’s big, soft body while recounting the hurtful comments about weight directed at this body. The daughter learns to take seriously her mother’s warning, “not to ever say anything bad about a person’s body.” Through childhood stories and then erotic photos of herself as a butch lover, Pendleton Jiménez attempts to reconcile the ambivalence she experiences over her own body, where maleness and femaleness collide.  Using stop-motion animation, she returns to Coyolxauhqui’s story and image, looking for a way to feel beautiful.  Butch Coyolxauhqui was produced as part of an LGBTQ health centre program to create films about queer women’s bodies. 





(14 min: 2008)

Writer: Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

"Tomboy” is an animated 14 minute video based on the book Are You A Boy or a Girl? by Karleen Pendleton Jiménez. This book was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award 2000 (U.S.). Geared to 5 to 9 year old girls, “Tomboy” looks at an incident in a Latina-Canadian girl’s life where she is bullied for her tomboy ways. This story is original in its direct comment on the issue of nonconforming gender expression. While the message of the film is serious, there are many comedic moments as the story unfolds and the children discuss what makes a boy or girl. Alex (short for Alejandra) loves soccer, the colour red, and playing the trumpet. The other kids think those are “boy” things and tease her mercilessly.


View Tomboy on Vimeo

contact producer Barb Taylor at for info about screening the film

visit the tomboy website and facebook page

contact V-Tape to purchase an institutional copy
phone: (416) 351-1317
fax: (416) 351-1509


Stories & Essays

Stories & Essays

Chapters in Refereed Books:


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2020). Gender fanzines: Developing gender literacy through popular culture. In L. Airton and S. Wooley (Eds.) K-12 Lesson plans on gender diversity (pp. 71-82). Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2019). Fat pedagogy for queers: Chicana body becoming in 4 acts. In C. Rice, J. Rinaldi, & M. Friedman (Eds.) Thickening fat: Fat bodies, intersectionality and social justice (pp. 40-50). NY: Routledge.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2018). Case #2 - The husky or the march?: Which way to student solidarity. In D. Griffiths and J. Ryan (Eds.) Case studies for educators and leaders (pp. 21-28). Burlington, ON: Word and Deed Publishing.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2014). “I will whip my hair” and “hold my bow”: Gender-creativity in rural Ontario. In E. Meyer & A Pullen Sansfacon (Eds.) Supporting transgender and gender creative youth: Schools, families and communities in action, (pp. 85-96). New York: Peter Lang.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2014). Off the script: A study of techniques for uncovering gender-bending truths in the classroom. In D. Carlson, & E. J. Meyer (Eds.). Handbook of Gender and Sexuality in Education, (pp. 257-271). NY: Peter Lang.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2013). “Tell Them You’re a Mexican,” and Other Motherly Advice. In S. Sahagian, & V. Reim (Eds.). Mother of invention: How our mothers influenced us as feminist academics and activists. Toronto: Demeter Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2012). The breastfeeding curriculum: Stories of queer, female, unruly learning. In D. Freedman, N.  Jolly, & S. Springgay (Ed.) M/othering a bodied curriculum: Theories and practices of relational teaching (pp. 294-307). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2007). Teaching to the learning deficiencies of the privileged. In W. Smale & K. Young (Eds.), Approaches to educational leadership and practice (pp. 258-272). Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2007).  On late nights: Living in my queer teacher body. In I. Killoran, & K. Pendleton Jiménez (Eds.), “Unleashing the unpopular”: Talking about sexual orientation and gender diversity in education (pp. 63-71). Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2007).  Pretty. In I. Killoran, & K. Pendleton Jiménez (Eds.), “Unleashing the unpopular”: Talking about sexual orientation and gender diversity in education (pp. 25-29). Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2006). ‘Start with the land’: Groundwork for Chicana pedagogy. In D. D. Bernal, C. A. Elenes, F. E. Godinez & S. Villenas (Eds.), Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies and epistemologies for everyday life: Educación en la familia, comunidad y escuela (pp. 219-230). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2005). Lengua Latina: Latina-Canadians (Re)constructing identity through a ‘community of practice.’ In C. Pease-Alvarez & S. Schecter (Eds.), Learning, teaching & community: Contributions of situated and participatory approaches to educational innovation (pp. 235-256). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2002). Can of worms: A queer TA in teacher’s ed. In R. Kissen (Ed.), Getting ready for Benjamin: Preparing teachers for sexual diversity in the classroom (pp. 215-225). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.


Chapters in Creative Books:


Pendleton Jiménez, K. & Romero, J. (2017). Lengua Latina: Queer palabras en Toronto. In S. Chambers, J. Farrow, M. FitzGerald, E. Jackson, J. Lorinc, T. McCaskell, R. Sheffield, T. Taylor, & R. Thawyer (Eds.) Any other way: How Toronto got queer (pp. 267-271). Toronto: Coach House Books.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2016). Downtown. In R. Gilmour and R. Ganev (Eds.) Queers were here: Heroes and icons of queer Canada (pp. 165-180). Toronto: Between the lines.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2015). Letter to my queer family. In T. Goldstein and A. Greer (Eds.) Women writing letters: Seasons 3 & 4 (pp. 100-102). Toronto: Gailey Road Productions.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2014). Letter to my twelve year old self. In Women writing letters (Vol. 2). Toronto: Gailey Road Productions.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2011). A beautiful creature. In I. E. Coyote and Z. Sharman (Eds.) Persistence: Still butch and femme (pp. 53-62). Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2009). Little white children: Notes from a Chicana dyke dad. In R. Epstein (Ed.), Who’s your daddy? and other writings on queer parenting (pp. 242-250). Toronto: Sumach Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2006). Queer Players: Strategic theater in San Diego. In R. Bernstein (Ed.), Cast out: Queer lives in theatre (pp. 118-123). Michigan: University of Michigan Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2003). María. In Z. Whittall (Ed.), Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws. Toronto: McGilligan Books.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2002). My dad in pink. In E. Ruth (Ed.), Bent on writing: Contemporary queer tales. Toronto: Women’s Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2001). La del sapo. In R. Johnson (Ed.), Fantasmas: Supernatural stories by Mexican American writers. Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Press


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (1999). The lake at the end of the wash. In T. Wolverton, R. Drake (Eds.), Hers 3: Brilliant new fiction by lesbians. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (1996). Tomboy gone butch. In R. Elwin (Ed.), Countering the myth. Toronto: Women’s Educational Press.

Articles in Refereed Journals:


Rice, C., Pendleton Jiménez, K., Rinaldi, J., Robinson, M., Harrison, E., Lamarre, A., & Andrew, J. (2020). Bodies at the intersection: Reconfiguring intersectionality through queer women's creative accounts of their complex embodiments. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 46(1), 177-200.


Arraíz-Matute, A., Da Silva, L., Pendleton Jiménez, K., Smith, A. (2020). The sex of it all: Outness and queer women’s digital storytelling in education. Teaching Education, 31(1), 98-111.  [note: equal authorship – alphabetical order]


Rinaldi, J., Rice, C., LaMarre, A., Pendleton Jiménez, K., Harrison, E., Friedman, M., McPhail, D., Robinson, M., & Tidgwell, T. (2016). Through Thick and Thin: Storying queer women’s experiences of taking up and resisting idealized body images and expected body management practices. Psychology of Sexualities Review [Special Issue Sexualities & Health: Critical Perspectives], 7(2), 63-77.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (Sept. 2015). ‘I love Barbies ... I am a Boy’: gender happiness for social justice education, Sex Education, 16(4), 379-390. DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2015.1067195

Pendleton Jimenez, K. (2014). How To Get a Girl Pregnant: An Autoethnography of Chicana Butch Reproduction. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement “Mothering and Reproduction” [Special Issue], 5(2), 60-74.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2014). The making of a queer Latina cartoon: Pedagogies of border, body, and home. The Journal of Latino-Latin American Studies  (JOLLAS) "Chicana/Latina Feminism(s): Negotiating and Crossing Borderlands in Education” [Special Issue], 6(2), 125-134.


Pendleton Jiménez, K., & Fine, E. (2009). Safe walk home: Cultural literacy in the Regent Park community. Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography, 26(1), 80-97.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2009). Queering classrooms, curricula, and care: Stories from those who dare. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Special Issue:  Queering Elementary Education: The State of the Art Ten Years Later, Sex Education, 9(2), 169-179.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2008). Latina Landscape: Queer Toronto. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, Special Issue: Art, Literature, and Place: An Ecopoetics Reader, 13(2), 114-129.


Book Review:


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2004). Review of Mom and Mum are getting married!. Journal for the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, 2(2).


Encyclopedia Entries:


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (Sep 2020). Borders, Sexuality, and Gender in Popular Culture. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.

DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.1315


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2010). Boi. In S. Steinberg & M Kehler (Eds.), Boy culture: An encyclopedia (pp. 5-9). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2010). Homophobia. In S. Steinberg & M Kehler (Eds.), Boy culture: An encyclopedia (pp. 24-28). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (1999). Cherríe Moraga. In The Encyclopedia of                                          Lesbian Histories and Cultures. Garland Pub.


Articles/Stories in Magazines/News:


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (Nov. 8th, 2018). Gender rights and sex ed., Retrieved from


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2016). Latin Night at the Pulse. Electric City Magazine,


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2004). La lotería: Mourning by cards. Vox Feminarum, 3(3).


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2003). The lesbian hand. The Graduate Students’ Handbook, York University, 2003.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2003). Julio. Jota!: A Zine for Chicana Lesbians, 1 (1).


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2002). A taste of color. Fireweed (Mixed Race Issue), 75, 13-16.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2002) Amigas intimas. Sparks, 1(1), 15-17.


Curry Rodriguez, J., Roque, H. & Pendleton Jiménez, K. (1999). We are women, feminists & queers.  Are we ethnic studies? Colorlines, Summer.


Pendleton Jiménez, K. (1995). Dina ruled the playground. Conmoción  3, 10-11.



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