David Reimer's Influence On Gender

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Half a century ago, our thoughts on gender identity were very different than those of today. It was theorized that one 's sexual identity was a result of being programmed as such. Meaning that a person with female genitalia would identify with the female gender due to their being taught to behave a certain way. Today, these thoughts have nearly been abandoned as a new way of thinking is beginning to take shape. We now know that a person 's gender identity is not determined by social conditioning but rather by a biological aspect. This newly found knowledge was derived from the highly controversial Joan/John case of the 1960’s. In 1966, a set of identical twins underwent surgical circumcisions to reverse phimosis, a condition in which one is unable …show more content…
During this process, however, one twin, David Reimer’s, penis was burned off by an electrocautery needle. A catheter took the place of the child’s penis as their parents explored their options. During this time, phallic reconstruction was a crude and unpracticed operation (Colapinto). Doctors had little hope that this operation would be successful, and even if it was, the reconstructed penis would never have the normal capacity of a real penis. Nearly seven months since the accident, Joan/John’s parents caught wind of Dr. John Money. Money was making great strides in the research of gender and gender identity. It is widely believed that he even coined the phrase “gender identity”. Dr. Money was a driving force behind the John Hopkins medical center 's Gender identity clinic (Colapinto). He believed that the child could undergo a sex change operation in which his dismembered penis would be turned into a vagina, and that he would transition well into the female gender as long as his family acted like and convinced him that he had always been a girl. Money was drawn to this case because of their being another twin boy who could act as a control group during an experiment that he would conduct for a

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