An Australian newspaper reports that David Reimer, the subject of a weird gender experiment, has committed suicide. Author John Colapinto wrote a moving biography of Reimer, who lost his penis in a botched circumcision. Colapinto’s book was the centerpiece of an IWF symposium several years ago, when he and Christina Hoff Sommers and Andrew Sullivan addressed the question of whether sexual identity is a matter of nature or nurture.
Reimer’s tragic life was a testimony or an argument in favor of the nature school of thought.
After the accident, Reimer’s distraught parents fell under the sway of an “advanced” Baltimore scientist who believed that gender is a social construct.
Under the tutelage of Dr. Money, they raised Bruce as Brenda. There were hormone treatments and attempts to get Brenda, who liked boys’ toys to play with dolls. Brenda was always miserable and misfit.
In fact, Reimer’s troubled life as a girl was an argument against the very theories that Dr. Money preached.
At the time of the symposium, Reimer had learned the truth and, after much suffering, decided to live as a man. He took the name David, married an understanding woman, and adopted her children. It looked as if, just maybe, David Reimer, 38 at the time of his death, might overcome his tragic history as a gender experiment.
Sadly, this was not to be.