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Definition A human tragedy of epic proportion, which began with a surgical misadventure, was perpetuated by an egomaniacal psychologist/pedophile and ended with the deaths by suicide and drug overdose of the twin boys who were the direct and indirect victims of the botched surgery.
Comment In brief, a 6-month old boy with phimosis was seen by a urologist who botched the circumcision and fried the infant’s penis beyond repair. The boy was subsequently seen at John Hopkins where psychologist John Money was making a name for himself for his alleged success in sexual reassignment. The boy subsequently underwent orchiectomy and was raised as a girl named Brenda. Money claimed this as proof that sexuality was learned and not hard-wired. The reality was much different. Brenda didn’t identify herself as a female and rebelled against the role. When she learned at age 13 her real gender, she adopted the name David Reimer and began the long road to becoming a male with multiple surgeries and testosterone treatments. He married but, because he felt he couldn’t satisfy his wife and on the heels of his twin brother’s death from a drug overdose, took his own life with a shotgun blast to the head
Synonym The John/Joan case