The story of David Reimer, the boy who was forced to live as a girl for a science experiment

Did you know that at one time, some researchers were convinced that gender identity was not determined by biology, but by the education given to children from an early age? Well in the 60s a little baby who hadn't asked anyone for anything was the guinea pig of a long scientific experiment to prove the correctness of this theory.

Little David Reimer was only eight months old when his life was completely turned upside down. Following a failed circumcision, the little baby found himself without a penis. His parents, completely desperate, were then convinced by an eminent psychologist, Doctor John Money, who affirmed that the solution for the development of David would be a "sexual reassignment".

The story of David Reimer, the boy who was forced to live as a girl for a science experiment
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Yes, but all did not go as planned, because the years that followed were a real physical and psychological torment for the little boy and his family.

Very trying operations and therapies

David Reimer's nightmare began when Doctor John Money managed to convince his parents to castrate him completely, then to do him a genital reconstruction … Renamed Brenda, the little boy had to wear dresses, then in adolescence, we forced him to get injections of estrogen, supposedly so that he could feel good about himself.

In parallel, David had annual sessions with Doctor John Money, whom he hated deeply. In a moving exchange with journalist John Colapinto (author of the book "Bruce, Brenda and David, The Story of the Boy Who Was Made into a Girl"), he shared his feelings of having been brainwashed from part of the psychologist.

Through questionable experiences, the latter indeed forced him to be a girl. It didn't matter that David was really bad about himself, Money didn't want to see anything. On the contrary, the psychologist affirmed during the conferences that the sexual reassignment of his young patient was a success.

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Lives wasted and a tragic end for David

Finally, at the age of 15, after years of doubting his true sexual identity, David came to learn that he was a boy and not a girl like his parents and Doctor Money tried to make him believe for. all these years. From then on, the adolescent rebelled against his parents and refused outright to see the psychologist again. He stopped the estrogen injections and underwent new painful operations to recreate a penis …

Sadly, despite David's best efforts to rebuild himself, the traumas stuck with him. He was also not the only one to suffer, as his twin brother, Brian, was also greatly affected by the oppressive family atmosphere. He died of an overdose in his thirties, and David followed him two years later (in 2004) to the grave by ending his life …

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John Money's work has since been called into question by many psychologists. No, gender identity is not just a matter of education, and parents should in no case decide for their children, at the risk of destroying them as was the case with David Reimer …

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