As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl

John Colapinto

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0061120561

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In 1967, after a twin baby boy suffered a botched circumcision, his family agreed to a radical treatment that would alter his gender. The case would become one of the most famous in modern medicine—and a total failure. As Nature Made Him tells the extraordinary story of David Reimer, who, when finally informed of his medical history, made the decision to live as a male. A macabre tale of medical arrogance, it is first and foremost a human drama of one man's—and one family's—amazing survival in the face of terrible odds.

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the night before. “We couldn’t schedule tests fast enough,” he told me. “We were testing every night—night after night after night—and getting data, and analyzing it, and reanalyzing it.” Milton Diamond was in the thick of the research, performing adjunct experiments on the pregnant mothers to learn what, if any, influence the testosterone had on their functioning. Having come to Kansas hoping to learn something new and interesting about the action of hormones on behavior, Diamond found himself

unrelated to the sex reassignment and that it would be inappropriate to bother her at this time. So I let it go.” But Diamond had never deviated from his conviction that sex reassignment of a developmentally normal infant was impossible, and he had not hesitated to publish this opinion—even as recently as a few months before the BBC contacted him. In the 1979 volume Frontiers of Sex Research, Diamond had cited the case, saying that on the evidence Money had so far published, it seemed to be

a tiny penis and undescended gonads, who on Money’s recommendation had been surgically reassigned as a girl. At eight years of age, the child, Paula, was described as successfully living in her female assignment. Yet the program was unsparing in its depiction of the far more theoretically important case of the developmentally normal twin—whose case seemed to be on the brink of collapse. Williams and Smith expected their program to stir controversy and comment. It did not. “The reaction was

to injury. At a meeting of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in September 1987, Money mentioned such infant sex changes as being among his most important clinical contributions to medical science. The occasion for Money’s comments was a ceremony at which he was being honored as one of four scientists in the country who had, for twenty-five consecutive years, been funded with taxpayers’ money by the National Institutes of Health. “In syndromes of male hermaphroditism and

the editors of the journal that had printed his mother’s work. I soon learned, of course, that the story of Janet as poet was a ruse. Wanting to learn from David his impressions of meeting the BBC reporters on that day in October 1979, I did not feel comfortable keeping up the fiction that they were poetry editors. I knew that I would have to explode the lie. I put it off for as long as I could, until close to the end of my monthlong stay in Winnipeg in early 1998. I tried to break the news

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