The Boy Without Penis

Topics: Gender, Intersexuality, David Reimer Pages: 4 (1615 words) Published: October 24, 2012
History of psychology

Dr money theory of gender neutrality
In 1966, a botched electrical circumcision left David Reimer (then named Bruce) without a penis. A malfunction in the doctor’s equipment (electro-cautery needle) caused the needle to burn Reimer’s penis from tip to base. The Reimer’s were left with a dilemma: a son with no penis. They visited several medical experts who assured them that penile reconstruction would prove worthless. The Reimer’s were devastated and did not know how to help David. One afternoon when the Reimer’s saw Dr. John Money, a so-called expert in sex reassignment, on television they contacted him and brought their son to see him. It would prove to be a tragic decision. Money persuaded the Reimer’s to reassign their son as a female by having his testes removed and naming him Brenda. Dr. Money assured the initially reluctant parents that after the operation was complete raising him as a girl would be successful and no one would be any the wiser. The Reimer’s trusting in the doctor agreed so their child may have a normal life. Money met with ”Brenda” once a year throughout the following years to report on her progress. In spite of growing evidence that Brenda was not adjusting well to her gender reassignment, Money published papers to the contrary. In psychiatric circles to protect Reimer’s identity Money referred to “Brenda” as John/Joan. Money’s experiment became well-known in psychiatric communities worldwide and partly as a result of Money’s publications, a number of infants  born with ambiguous genitalia underwent gender reassignment. However many psychologists were unconvinced about the John/Joan experiment. One of these was academic sexologist Milton Diamond, who, in a bold move against Money reported to the psychiatric community that Reimer never identified as female, and that he began living as a male from the age of 15. Sexual reassignment in the Reimer case is not a gender identity disorder. He was born male unlike than...
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