The Rheimer twins were born minutes apart. Later, David, had received a a botched circumcision surgery at 7 months of age. The Doctor had used an electric cautery machine with a sharp cutting needle to sever the foreskin. Bad choice of instrument in my opinion, as retired RN, for it severed the tiny penis of the little baby. A clamp and a scalpel would have held all steady, and, is the usual choice . The Canadian family, seeking help, saw an American, Doctor Money, (appropriate name) on television. They were impressed and desperate and wrote to him, and, he accepted them as clients.
David Reimer was born on August 22, 1965, 12 minutes before his twin brother. His parents named him Bruce and his brother Brian. Both babies were healthy and developed normally until they were seven months old, when they were discovered to have a condition known as phimosis, a defect in the foreskin that makes urination difficult..
The Reimers were told by their Doctor that the problem was easily remedied with circumcision. During the procedure at the hospital, a doctor who did not usually perform such operations was assigned to the Reimer babies. He chose to use an electric cautery machine with a sharp cutting needle to sever the foreskin. “The electrical equipment had malfunctioned and the surge in current had obliterated the tiny penis” was their ‘story.’ The Doctor was inexperienced and the instrument of choice was wrong.
At eight months of age, David became the unwitting subject of “sex reassignment.” His grieving parents, too trusting in the words of Doctors, heard of an American Doctor named Money, who advised them that it would be better to raise him as a girl. Dr. Money was experimenting with sex conversion at the time. He recommended castration and hormone treatments. He was a psychologist. Not a Doctor. Canada was suffering under some form of socialized medicine at this point in time. I have personal knowledge of friends there who suffered, including one man who died in the emergency room of a massive heart attack … after he had told them about chest pain several times with nothing having been done. No Cardiac Testing.
This sad story was known as the “John/Joan” case and was widely publicized, giving credence to arguments presented in the 70’s by feminists and others that humans are sexually neutral at birth and that sex roles are largely the product of social condition
“Doctor Money was a psychologist specializing in sex change. He believed that it wasn’t biology that determines whether we are male or female, but how we are raised.
For Doctor Money, David was the ideal experiment. Here was a child he believed should be brought up as the opposite sex, who even brought his own control group with him – an identical twin.
If it worked this would provide irrefutable evidence of Dr. Money’s theory.
When Bruce (later David) was 17 months old, he became Brenda. Four months later, on July 3, 1967, the first surgical step was taken – castration. (Surgical removal of the tiny delicate testicles of this poor baby boy.
Dr. Money stressed, post surgery, that, if they wanted the sex change to work, the parents must never let Brenda or her twin brother know that she had been born a boy.
From now on the Reimers had a boy and a ‘girl’
For several years Doctor Money (his real name) reported on Reimer’s progress, describing apparently successful female gender development and using this case to support the feasibility of sex reassignment. He wrote his paper and made his case!
Mrs. Reimer reported that the child was very rebellious and acted very masculine. “I could not persuade her to do anything feminine” she once said. Brenda had no friends.
She did not like wearing dresses. She loved to play with her brothers toys, and, be with his friends. She was lonely and a sad child. Doctor Money, at this time, had been pressuring the family to bring David in for surgery during which “a vagina” would be constructed. Estrogen was given during adolescence to induce breast development. From the age of 22 months into his teen aged years, Reimer had urinated through a hole that surgeons had placed in the abdomen. What a tragedy for a little boy.
The parents, after these stressful years, had decided against any more surgery and told Brenda, in opposition to Dr. Money’s advice, that she had been born a boy.
“I could see that Brenda wasn’t happy as a girl” Janet Reimer recalled.
Brenda soon decided that she wanted to be what she was supposed to be … a boy, and, she chose the name of
Reconstructive surgery was done, as it should have been. Too late for David though. He did eventually marry and although he couldn’t have children, the girl he married had three and David was happy for a time as a Father.
But … the effects of the hormone treatments given to a little boy to change him into a girl had taken their toll and he developed a form of schizophrenia.
Hormone Treatments are given to some children. They are called ‘Puberty Blockers’
Slowly, David went into a deep depression. He had lost his job, and, become separated from his wife.
In 2002, his brother died from a drug overdose.
Two years later, David committed suicide …
No one should have to live a life like these two … the abuse of Dr. Money had taken its toll.
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 15, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2
In this writer’s opinion, David could have had reconstructive surgery, rather than a castration, and, his parents should have brought a medical malpractice action against the Doctor who did the surgery. The money they won would have helped these two working class parents through their terrible struggle.
About Doctor Money: Much information can be found on the internet about him as he was one of the early advocates of transgender ideology and therapy, and, greatly revered by the feminist movement. There are accounts of how the two Reimer brothers suffered sexual abuse on their frequent “visits to the Doctor” in many places. What I read of it was terrible.
David Reimer went public with his story, and, John Colapinto published a widely disseminated and influential account in Rolling Stone Magazine December 1997.
John Colapinto eventually wrote a book ‘As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who was Raised as a Girl’
“God Himself “from the beginning made man male and female” (Matthew 19:4) “and He blessed them saying, “Increase and multiply” (Gn 1:28). Thus it is that the things that in this respect are naturally found in man are also good and proper., as the Church has often stated in order to proclaim the sanctity and dignity of marriage.” Draft of a Dogmatic Constitution on Chastity, Marriage, The Family, and Virginity: A portion of the Discarded Schemas of Vatican II.