Science & Technology

Celebrating Pride: Understanding Intersex: Biology and Gender

To celebrate Pride Month in June, a Utah State Today series is highlighting university employees and students who are conducting research, academic pursuits and other projects related to or that benefit the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sara Freeman

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Biology

  • Area of study: Intersex in humans; neurobiology of social bonds

Why is this work important?

“The (‘Intersexion’) film … offers individuals’ stories of how they’ve navigated childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and provides hope for a more inclusive future. This documentary provides an extraordinary opportunity for viewers to hear directly from a community often mistreated and misunderstood.”

Summary of researcher:

Freeman is an assistant professor of neurobiology with expertise in behavioral neuroendocrinology, social neuroscience, comparative neuroanatomy, autism and nonapeptides. As a researcher, she studies the neurobiology of social bonds including the role of oxytocin in shaping social navigation and connection.

Freeman is a co-organizer of the Science, Technology and the Environment Research Cluster, sponsored by the Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research. In that role, she has organized and participated in multiple events related to issues of inclusion, sexuality and gender.

One event included a March 2021 screening of the landmark 2012 documentary, “Intersexion” about the lives of intersex people. She served as a moderator of a panel discussion related to the film that featured the filmmaker, Mani Mitchell, intersex activist Jelly O’Shea and bioethicist Dr. Alice Dreger.

Freeman regularly includes the film and related issues in her courses and hopes to develop a USU course on Intersex issues in the near future. Such a course will contribute to USU’s new Sexuality Studies minor.

Learn more about Sara Freeman’s work:


Emilie Wheeler
News Director
University Marketing and Communications


LGBTQIA+ 42stories

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