One Book, One University


The College of Arts and Sciences has selected author Pidgeon Pagonis’ book Nobody Needs toKnow: A Memoir as the 2024-25 academic year selection for One Book, One University.

This memoir is a poignant, vulnerable, and deeply moving account of a person born intersex, who grew up thinking and being told “she” was a girl only to learn in college they are intersex. This realization led to a re-examination of their childhood and a reckoning with a life shaped by lies that left them physically and mentally scarred. But for Pagonis, what began as a shameful and traumatic discovery transforms into a painful yet joyous journey of self-love, truth, and healing.

The book addresses unsettling experiences of adolescence and explores themes about alienation, identity, and self-discovery. Pagonis also discusses human rights of intersex people, and the book provides opportunities to engage in critical discussions of related topics such as LGBTQ+ issues, women’s rights, and medical rights. The book examines problems with the medical field in misdiagnosing and undermining conditions related to sexuality, with a comprehensive criticism of how authoritative systems limit individual agency and dismiss anything other than the gender binary. Pagonis recounts the activism and community engagement that led to policy changes at a local Chicago hospital regarding treatment of people born intersex. Ultimately, the book is a celebration of the freedom and empowerment that come from learning the truth about who you are—and living it.

Previous One Book, One University selections