In the past, both allies and enemies have criticized the transgender movement for its unwillingness to respond to tougher questions. Of course, while it’s understandable why the average transgender person would not want to spent every second of every day validating their identity, the result is that those tough questions are answered by the transphobic or the ill-informed. As a supporter of transgenderism, I do believe the movement would win any battle they enter, however, their refusal to enter the conversation has led to those who push nonsense controlling the conversation.
No question is tougher than that of David Reimer, if only because of the man behind his story, a psychologist named John Money. Money, along with Alfred Kinsey, is quite possibly the most important psychologist of the 20th century. It was him who coined terms that almost seem second nature to us today (“gender roles” and “sexual orientation” among them) and who studied many concepts considered taboo at the time. Ever since his 1952 Thesis (Hermaphroditism: An Inquiry into the Nature of a Human Paradox) Money had become known as the psychologist who studied what nobody else would.
Although I am about to talk about what he’s most famous for, I should note it’s a huge shame he’s most known for his biggest failure. Money invented much of modern psychology, and yet most who know him might call him “the founder of left-wing gender theory” (which there is much truth too) before telling you about his worst research project. However, if that is truly what he’s going to be known for, then I believe we should at least take an honest look at what happened.
The year was 1965, and in Canada, two identical twins were born. One named Bruce Reimer, and one named Brian Reimer, both biologically male. At seven months, both children were diagnosed with Phimosis, a condition which effects the foreskin of a penis. It was decided for both children that a circumcision would be the best method for dealing with this illness, and while Brain’s went fine Bruce’s was botched, heavily damaging his penis.
At the time, Money wanted to test his hypothesis that gender roles (again, a term he coined) were primarily learned. This is an idea that has long been debated among both psychologists and sociologists and Money, being Money, wanted to take it one step further than his peers. As such, he recommend Bruce have his genitals flipped and live as a girl in order to see if his previous biology would effect his behavior.
Money’s experiment was a failure, as Bruce started living as a male beginning at age 15 (going under the name David after it had been changed to Brenda) before killing himself at age 38 in 2004. However, the question of what it disproves, I believe, is the more interesting question regarding Money’s experiment.
One important thing to note is that what Money considered “gender roles” was rather extreme. According to both of the brothers and Money himself, Money forced the twins to engage in sex with David taking the role of the submissive. Money said he did this in order to help imprint gender roles and David — and, of course, the idea that women are only submissive (or that only women can be submissive) is one “left-wing gender theory” explicitly rejects. In fact, it’s rather ironic Money’s most socially conservative position on gender resulted in the worst part of his experiment.
It’s rather likely the sex abuse at the hand of Money is the main cause of David’s mental trauma and suicide. Especially considering David’s twin brother had killed himself two years earlier, and he had only gone through the sexual abuse.
However, another question we should be asking is about the state Reimer was put in by Money. Reimer had no memory of being male, and far as he was concerned had always been female. In spite of that, Reimer knew, although he didn’t know how, that something was off — that this was not how he was suppose to be. This caused major depression in Reimer, again, eventually leading to him taking his own life.
If one did not know about his first seven months of life, it would be easy to hear his story and assume he is a trans person. As it stands, brain scans on transgender people regularly find them to be more in line with their preferred gender than their biological sex. Specifically, parts of the brain related to body recognition are found to be much closer to those of the opposite sex than of their sex.
As it stands, transgender people are considered to be, at most, 2% of the population. What Reimer proves is that you cannot take any random male, flip his genitals, and call him a woman — which most people realize. It also proves that male and female brains do exist, and if those brains are in the wrong person it will cause negative effects on the person.
It’s funny I’m seeing Matt Walsh bring out the John Money argument. Here’s a point Walsh made in a recent article on Money:
This is no surprise. As David Reimer’s parents discovered, you cannot “reassign” someone’s genetically and biologically hardwired sex. You can dress them in different clothes and conduct irreversible surgeries, but none of that can change their DNA. You can alter a person’s looks. You cannot alter their biological nature.
Mind you, Walsh has previously said that there’s “no more a female brain than a female elbow” (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t find the original quote) but you can have male and female amino acids? In order to explain what happened to Reimer you have to accept the notion that yes, there is such a thing as a “male brain” and a “female brain” and that these brains can, for a number of reasons, not match up to our physical characteristics. At that rate, the only other thing needed for transgenderism to be possible is the idea that these brains can be switched around by forces other than man — which we have seen happen many times over the course of humanity.
Reimer’s case is tragic, make no mistake. However, the people who use him as an argument against transgenderism fail to understand why his case became tragic and what his case proves.