Creating a Woman: The Tragic Story of David Reimer

Creating a Woman: The Story of David Reimer

 

I first learned David’s story as an undergrad while sitting (bored) in a “Human Sexuality” class. The professor was using David Reimer to highlight the power of Genetics vs. Environment. Are we the product of what we were born with? Did we, in fact, get it from our momma as the will.i.am song would seem to suggest? Or are we shaped and molded over time through our environment?

 

David Reimer’s story is irrefutable evidence that you cannot fully shape someone through social conditioning. Despite his environment telling him otherwise, David somehow knew that something wasn’t right. And so, as I sat listlessly in that class all those years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that David’s story has far greater implications on human sexuality- in other words, heterosexuality vs. homosexuality. Th question kept running through my head..”If being gay is truly a choice, then why couldn’t David accept being a girl and live out his life attracted to men?”.

We knew this topic would be controversial (to say the least). We knew we would turn some people off with this topic. Nevertheless, I decided that David’s story MUST be told.


EPISODE SOURCES:

1. WHO IS DAVID REIMER?

“David Reimer was born an identical (non-intersex) twin boy in 1965. At the age of 8 months, David and his brother each had a minor medical problem involving his penis, and a doctor decided to treat the problem with circumcision. The doctor botched the circumcision on David, using an inappropriate method and accidentally burning off virtually all of David’s penis.”

Who was David Reimer (also, sadly, known as "John/Joan")? | Intersex Society of North America
For many years, John Money claimed that David (known in the interim as "Brenda") turned out to be a "real" girl with a…www.isna.org

2. THIS MAN WANTS DOCTORS TO EUTHANIZE HIM BECAUSE HE CAN’T ACCEPT HIS SEXUALITY.

“It was not so long ago when being gay was considered a recognizable mental disorder, taught in classrooms at medical schools the world over. Thankfully, the days of the medical establishment viewing gay people as “sick” are now largely over, although unscrupulous operators continue to peddle misinformation and scientifically discredited theories about “curing” queer teens.”

This Man Wants Doctors To Euthanize Him Because He Can’t Accept His Sexuality | Broadly
A 39-year-old man in Belgium is seeking euthanasia on the grounds of extreme psychological suffering-because he can&#39…broadly.vice.com

3. David Reimer, 38, Subject of the John/Joan Case

David Reimer, a man who was born a boy but raised as a girl in a famous medical experiment, only to reassert his male identity in the last 20 years of his life, died on May 4. He was 38. His family says he committed suicide.

— MICHAEL DRANE
MA, LAC