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David Reimer Essays

David Reimer: The Boy Who Lived As A Girl David Reimer was born a boy, but after an unconventional circumcision gone wrong, his parents decided to have him undergo an involuntary gender reassignment based on the influence of Dr. Money, a pro-nurture advocate (CBS, 2004). David, referred to as “Brenda” in his younger years, endured many difficulties throughout his childhood as a girl. Some of which included peer rejection, social isolation, mood swings, anger issues, & most notably gender confusion; all are consistent with Gender Identity Disorder (GID).

Before the final transformation David’s parents revealed the secret of his biological construct. From then on, David lived as man and tried to build normalcy with a wife, kids, and normal sex life. Despite his attempts David still faced many hardships. He battled depression, attempted to take his own life on various occasions, and eventually after losing his twin brother, separating from his wife, and being laid off, he successfully commited suicide May of 2004 (CBS, 2004).

There are several parties to blame for David Reimer’s lifetime of traumatic experience, however the man involved with the most audacity is Dr. Money. Not only were his methods unethical, the man undoubtedly had an agenda. Dr. Money used an innocent young boy’s sexual reassignment to push his theory of gender neutrality. Based on the glowing reports by Dr. Money, and the opposing remarks by David, it’s obvious David was used as a pawn to further Dr. Money’s career.

Not only is the story of David Reimer an example of unethical health professionals, it is also a perfect illustration of nature vs. nurture, proving that biology and genetics play a significant, even vital role in one’s identity. Presently GID clients that undergo sex reassignment surgery must first psychologically prepare by living as the opposite gender for at least two years. Hormone therapy is required because biologically speaking a man and woman’s hormones differ and therefore must be altered.

Changing the appearance of a person and raising them as the opposite sex as the Reimers did, does not psychologically or biologically transform a person. According to an article by Rebecca Kastl most psychologists and pyschiatrists acknowledge a biological factor in cases of GID; some believe the prime cause lies in the brian, while others blame hormonal imbalances occurring in gestation.

However the big debate is whether the causation is both biological and environmental or purely biological (Kastl, 2000). REFERENCES CBS News Online. (2004). David Reimer: The boy who lived as a girl. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from http://www. cbc. ca/news/background/reimer/ Kastl, R. (2001). Transsexualism: Nature vs. Nurture. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from http://www. tgharmony. com/articles/nature_v_nurture. html

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