John Money was a New Zealander who grew up in a Christian home, but rebelled against the teachings of his parents. He went on to become a psychologist and moved to John Hopkins University in the USA, where he worked for many years. In 1955 he published an article in the Bulletin of the John Hopkins Hospital in which we see the word gender being used for the very first time to replace the traditional word sex in describing male and female. Seemed harmless enough until you understand more about Dr John Money.
As an adult, John Money had become a self-confessed “missionary of sex”, encouraging bisexual group sex, open marriages and refusing to condemn incest and paedophilia. It was he who unveiled to the world the novel idea that gender was a social construct rather than a biological certainty.
In 1967 Dr Money got to try out his theory on a little boy who had been through a botched circumcision and had lost most of his penis. His name was Bruce Reimer. Money advised the parents to tidy up the wound with a virginal fold, raise the boy as a girl and all would be fine. Since in Dr Money’s thinking gender was simply a social construct there would be no problem, the child would become what ever society said it should be. Bruce Reimer became Brenda Reimer.
Money misrepresented the case in glowing terms in a series of published papers, telling the world that Reimer had changed happily to the feminine gender. Time Magazine (January 1973) was sucked in by it all, declaring that this case was “providing strong support for a major contention of women’s liberationists: that conventional patterns of masculine and feminine behaviour can be altered”. His case was used as justification for the sex resaignment of hundreds of babies in the years that followed.
But it was all a lie. Brenda never self-identified as a girl and found the medical and psychological treatment by Dr Money deeply traumatic. According to The Guardian (May 12th 2004) Reimer recounts therapy sessions where Money would show him and his twin brother explicit pornographic pictures and yell at the boys to take their clothes off.
When Brenda Reimer was finally told at the age of 14 about his original sex was male, Brenda promptly reverted to male, took the name David and tried to undo the hormonal feminisation he has been subjected to. He underwent a double mastectomy, had testosterone injections and a penile reconstruction. In 1990 he married and was a dad to three stepchildren. In December 1997 David Reimer finally went public with the sad truth in the Rolling Stone Magazine, the same year that the truth was told to the medical profession in a March article in the Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine.
After 14 years of marriage his wife left David Reimer. It was too much for this sad young man and he took his life at the age of just 38 years, thanks to the seriously disturbing theories of a psychologist who was on a mission to change societies understanding of sexuality into his own warped mold. Because of him, the myth that gender is simply a social construct has gone from strength to strength and thousands of mentally disturbed young people are suffering a similar fate as David/Brenda/David Reimer, with a suicide rate 20 times the average.