At the age of 8 months while undergoing a circumcision operation, Bruce’s penis was burned beyond surgical repair. Ten months after the operation, Bruce’s parents became associated with Dr. John Money, a world renowned sex researcher developing a reputation in the field of gender identity.
Dr. Money argued it was possible for a person to change gender successfully through surgery, socialisation and hormone replacement. Unaware Dr. Money had never attempted this before, Bruce’s parents, Ron and Janet Reimer consented. On 3rd July 1967 Bruce was surgically castrated and renamed Brenda.
Brenda’s parents took her home under strict instructions on how to raise her. They were never to tell her she was born a boy and were to visit Dr. Money annually.
Brenda had long hair, pretty dresses and girls toys but it soon became obvious that in everything else Brenda was masculine. She borrowed Brian’s toys and played with soldiers, cars and guns. Brenda walked like a boy, sat with her legs apart and insisted on urinating standing up. All of which was confusing for her and upsetting for Brian.
Dr. Money passed this off as ‘tomboyish’ and instructed the Reimer’s to continue raising ‘Brenda’.
Brenda began experiencing behavioural and emotional problems at school. Along with these problems, both Brian and Brenda detested visiting Dr. Money for annual check ups.
These eventually ceased when the Reimer’s realised they were doing more harm than good.
Brenda became increasingly troubled at school. Local psychiatrists reported Brenda knew she was different to other children and she continued to blame herself for problems within her family. As time passed and with Brenda’s increasing display of a boys persona and a nervous breakdown, it was recommended Brenda be told the truth.
Immediately after being told Brenda reverted to her biological sex,
References: Archer, J. and BloomLloyd, B., 2002. Sex and Gender. Cambridge University Press. Cardwell, M. and Flanagan, C., 2003. Psychology A2: The Complete Companion. Nelson Thornes. Davenport, G. C., 1992. An Introduction to Child Development. Collins Educational: Hammersmith London. Money, T., Ehrhardt., 1972. Man and Woman, Boy and Girl, The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. [Online] Available from: http://www.gender.org.uk/about/ [cited 3 January 2009] Thorne, B., 1993. Gender Play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. http://www.psych.wright.edu/gordon/psy341/Psy341U11-notes.pdf [Online] Assessed 4/01/09 .