Unethical Psychological Experiment

David Reimer was born as Bruce Reimer in 1965 as male. Both David and his twin brother, Brian Reimer,  each had a minor medical problem involving their penis, called phimosis. A doctor wanted to treat their issue with circumcision. The doctor botched the circumcision on David, using an inappropriate method and accidentally burned off all of David’s penis. David’s parents were looking for a solution to fix this mistake.

Meanwhile, John Money, a psychologist was working on a theory, that any boy could be raised as a girl. He believed that Nurture was more important than Nature when it came to gender roles. The Reimer twins provided Money with a perfect sample, two twin boys (one believing they were a girl) raised by the same people in the same way.  John Money encouraged the gender reassignment on David Reimer, and eventually convinced David’s parents as well. Reimer underwent surgery as an infant to construct rudimentary female genitals, and was given female hormones during puberty. David was renamed as Brenda and raised as a girl.

During childhood, David was never told he was biologically male when he regularly visited Money, who tracked the progress of his gender reassignment. David behaved ‘exactly’ as a little girl; playing with dolls, baking cookies, wearing dresses etc.  Money published his works, stating that he had evidence to back up his theory. But what his works didn’t say, was that Money was forcing David and Brian engage in behavior resembling sexual intercourse. Reimer said that Money forced the twins to rehearse sexual acts involving thrusting movements, with David playing the bottom role. Reimer said that, as a child, he had to get down on all fours with his brother, Brian Reimer, up behind his butt with his crotch against his butt. Reimer said that Money forced David, in another sexual position, to have his legs spread open with Brian on top. Reimer said that Money also forced the children to take their “clothes off” and engage in “genital inspections”. On at least one occasion, Reimer said that Money took a photograph of the two children doing these activities. Money’s rationale for these various treatments was his belief that childhood sexual rehearsal plays was important for a healthy adult gender identity.

Around the age of 13, David began to look and act incredibly masculine, rejecting the femininity that had been forced upon him. When David fought with her brother, it was clear that she was the stronger of the two. “I recognized Brenda as my sister,” Brian was quoted as saying in the Colapinto book. “But she never, ever acted the part”. David’s parents eventually told him the truth when he was 14. Immediately David decided that he wanted to be a boy again, he stopped taking his hormones and changed his name to David instead of Brenda.

David later had surgery to reconstruct a penis, and went on to have a wife and children. Reimer’s story was told in the 2000 book “As Nature Made Him,” by journalist John Colapinto. Reimer said he cooperated with Colapinto in the hope that other children could be spared the miseries he experienced. David developed into a  man. But the grueling surgeries spun him into periods of depression and caused him to try an attempt at suicide for two times.

Unfortunately, those attempts came full circle. His mother said David had recently become more depressed after losing his job and separating from his wife. He was also still grieving over the death of his twin brother two years earlier, she said. For your information, his twin brother, Brian Reimer, was traumatized and the experiments caused him serious mental disturbance and he was eventually diagnosed as having schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that changes the way someone feels, thinks, and behaves. Brian committed suicide by overdosing on his medications for schizophrenia. Two years after Brian’s suicide, David Reimer commits suicide. Reimer’s parents have stated that Money’s methodology was responsible for the deaths of both of their sons.

In conclusion, human experimentation has been happening throughout the years, but this experiment has to be considered and seen as one of the few mental and physical abusement towards a human in recent history. John Money is a waste of human flesh and should be seen as the one who likes to play and destroy precious human minds. Let me state this as clear as humanly possible, John Money forced two twin brothers to suicide and he even forced one of those twin brothers to become a girl, even though he was born biologically as a male. He even had the audacity to make the twin brothers, who, may I remind you, are less than 10 years old, to have sexual acts to prove his belief that childhood sexual rehearsal plays are important for a healthy adult gender identity. John Money should be ashamed of himself.

R.I.P to David and Brian Reimer.

Unethical Psychological Experiment
by Brandom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This article was prepared by a young writer through Youth Voices, an exciting initiative helping students find their own voice in the digital world.