Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Brian Duistermars

Reader 2

Nancy Williams

Rights Information

© 2023 Zoe B Hancock


Gender, sex, and sexuality play fundamental roles in how people perceive themselves and others, how they act and interact, and the distribution of power and resources in society. However, the neurological basis of one’s gender identity and sexual orientation remains largely unknown. In this review, we look at the ways in which the spectrum of identities that exist within the gender and sexuality framework have been explored through biological research, in animals and humans. We find that anatomical, physiological, and genetic models characterizing gender, sex, and sexuality have profound limitations in explaining the breadth and diversity of personal identities evident within the complexity of human behavior. While such biological studies provide a limited understanding for why variations in expression and preference exist, the research done in these fields does provide clear and indisputable evidence suggesting that biological mechanisms, at the molecular and cellular level, underlie the formation of identity, and provide a compelling argument against traditional, societal, and cultural designations.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.