Monday, April 27, 2009

Gender Gap: What were the real reasons behind David Reimer's suicide?

Just shy of a month ago, I got a call from David Reimer's father telling me that David had taken his own life. I was shocked, but I cannot say I was surprised. Anyone familiar with David's life—as a baby, after a botched circumcision, he underwent an operation to change him from boy to girl—would have understood that the real mystery was how he managed to stay alive for 38 years, given the physical and mental torments he suffered in childhood and that haunted him the rest of his life. I'd argue that a less courageous person than David would have put an end to things long ago.

After David's suicide, press reports cited an array of reasons for his despair: bad investments, marital problems, his brother's death two years earlier. Surprisingly little emphasis was given to the extraordinary circumstances of his upbringing. This was unfortunate because to understand David's suicide, you first need to know his anguished history, which I chronicled in my book As Nature Made Him:The Boy Who Was Raised As a Girl.

David Reimer was one of the most famous patients in the annals of medicine. Born in 1965 in Winnipeg, he was 8 months old when a doctor used an electrocautery needle, instead of a scalpel, to excise his foreskin during a routine circumcision, burning off his entire penis as a result. David's parents (farm kids barely out of their teens) were referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, home of the world's leading expert in gender identity, psychologist Dr. John Money, who recommended a surgical sex change, from male to female. David's parents eventually agreed to the radical procedure, believing Dr. Money's claims that this was their sole hope for raising a child who could have heterosexual intercourse—albeit as a sterile woman with a synthetic vagina and a body feminized with estrogen supplements.

For Dr. Money, David was the ultimate experiment to prove that nurture, not nature, determines gender identity and sexual orientation—an experiment all the more irresistible because David was an identical twin. His brother, Brian, would provide the perfect matched control, a genetic clone raised as a boy.

David's infant "sex reassignment" was the first ever conducted on a developmentally normal child. (Money had helped to pioneer the procedure in hermaphrodites.) And according to Money's published reports through the 1970s, the experiment was a success. The twins were happy in their assigned roles: Brian a rough and tumble boy, his sister Brenda a happy little girl. Money was featured in Time magazine and included a chapter on the twins in his famous textbook Man & Woman, Boy & Girl.

The reality was far more complicated. At age 2, Brenda angrily tore off her dresses. She refused to play with dolls and would beat up her brother and seize his toy cars and guns. In school, she was relentlessly teased for her masculine gait, tastes, and behaviors. She complained to her parents and teachers that she felt like a boy; the adults—on Dr. Money's strict orders of secrecy—insisted that she was only going through a phase. Meanwhile, Brenda's guilt-ridden mother attempted suicide; her father lapsed into mute alcoholism; the neglected Brian eventually descended into drug use, pretty crime, and clinical depression.

The Story Continues...


  1. I watched the story about David Reimer on YouTube. I really feel that David was an experiment! How in the hell did his dumb ass parents figure raising him as a girl was suppose to help him. They must have been nuts. Now both of their children are dead. This is why I don't trust doctors or hospitals. Especially as a Nubian. They are always experimenting on us. I try to eat healthy, I take Vitamins instead of medicine, and I make sure I get enough rest. I only go to the doctors once a year and thats for a yearly check up. Fuck the medical community don't TRUST THEM AT ALL.

  2. I too have watched the video clips on YouTube. You can tell that the parents were related. They are so many facts missing. The mother seemed and little off and dysfunctional.

    David Reimer was born as a true hermaphrodite!

    My mother always told me to "NEVER LIE TO YOUR DOCTOR".

    These parents have lied to their doctor and as a result, the children were misdiagnosed!

    The parents should've been honest. They should've said - I am having a baby by my cousin or uncle or brother or sister - instead they say I drunk a full bottle of liquor.

    The doctors know. If the patient isn't honest, what can they do but proceed with experimentations.

    They are so many people getting mad when a person talk about a "gay" person.

    There are too many "gay" people who were birthed through incest.

    Hollywood and the political field is filled with them.

  3. I'm wit the first poster, these hospitals have a history of experimenting on Blacks! This isn't by any means a co-incidents! They know that ppl with melanin are the original Ppl on the planet there's a concentrated effort to annihilate Black ppl off the face of the earth! However TPTB already know that if they do that, this planet will cease to exist. We are the ppl of the sun. And I'm nit just speaking metaphorically, I'm talking literally! Think about this for a minute, why when the astronauts go up into space, where supposedly theyre closer to the sun, its cold? Shouldn't it be hotter? Also why when they get there they cannot find the sun? This is because the sun is really a BLACK HOLE! heat and light enter into the earth's atmosphere via the friction of the particles emitted by this black hole with the earth's stratosphere! Also Nubian ppl bodies hold heat because of our direct connection with the cosmos. I break all this down later on a different post.

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