Essay about Gender Identity Is Not Determined By Social Conditioning

2414 Words Oct 5th, 2016 10 Pages
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 to retract the foreskin of the penis for urination. 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…

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