Nobody Needs to Know: A Memoir

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From intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis comes a candid and life-affirming true story of identity, lies, family secrets, and the healing power of truth.

Pidgeon Pagonis always felt like their life was a constant attempt to fit in with other girls--a feeling that was only exacerbated when puberty failed to hit. They never understood why...until they uncovered the secret that had haunted their childhood.

Bouncing between their Chicago home and the city's children's hospital, Pidgeon weathered a series of traumatic surgeries, fabrications, and misdirections. It wasn't until college that Pidgeon pieced together the puzzle of their identity: they'd been born intersex but raised as a girl, their life shaped by lies that left them physically and mentally scarred. But for Pidgeon, what began as a shameful and traumatic discovery transforms into a painful yet joyous journey of self-love, truth, and healing.

Pidgeon's inspiring memoir is for everyone whose body and spirit defy expectations, a fierce challenge to a system hell-bent on enforcing binary definitions. Ultimately, it's a celebration of the freedom and empowerment that come from learning the truth about who you are--and living it.

"A sharp-eyed, candid reading experience." --Kirkus Reviews

"[H]eart-wrenching...Pagonis's campaign to speak up on behalf of intersex autonomy is galvanizing, and their journey toward found family is moving. This is an inspiring must-read." --Publishers Weekly

"For many years now Pagonis's activism as an advocate for the intersex community has been indispensable, helping shine a much-needed light on an identity that is so often misunderstood and ignored. Now they're bringing that enlivening energy to the page with their luminous memoir about the fight for selfhood." --Electric Literature

"A beautifully written and clear-eyed book that goes beyond the basics of what intersex means to show the full mosaic of what it is to be human." --Shondaland

"A powerful, fierce, and vulnerable memoir that situates the fight for intersex rights against the backdrop of adolescence. Pagonis explores the nuance of bodies--of what it means to have a body as a house--and the ways that society and the medical industry have tried to flatten bodies into one-dimensional ideas. This book is a must-read, and as compelling as it is informative." --Fatimah Asghar, author of When We Were Sisters

"A riveting memoir that illuminates one person's beautiful struggle against a system that denied their truth since birth. Nobody Needs to Know is critical to understanding intersex issues, and it's also a striking story of growing up and into yourself. Each page brims with a heart-wrenching honesty and irrepressible spirit that anyone can see themselves in. Pidgeon is changing the world and actively destigmatizing the existence of people who aren't simply male or female. This story inspires an essential process that brings us closer to respecting and appreciating a reality that is not binary and yet is one we all share. Pidgeon is a wonderful human being, a conduit for harmony, and an example of what change and growth can achieve. Please read this book!" --Indya Moore, actor, model, and advocate

"A remarkable book by a remarkable person. I highly recommend it; anyone reading this will come away with an awareness and appreciation of the challenges and beauty of a group of people who are as common in our everyday lives as identical twins or redheads yet are mostly invisible or misunderstood." --Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, principal of the Neurosequential Network

Publisher: Topple Books & Little a
Pub date: August 15, 2023
235 pages
Format: Paperback