It takes a lawsuit

The Active Voice

June, 1967. A little boy, whose penis had been mutilated beyond repair as a result of a botched circumcision, lies on an operating table at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. The surgeons will remove his testes, and from that point on, the little boy will no longer be a boy. He will be Brenda (known to the public as “Joan”), a boy raised as a girl, and held up as proof of the malleability of gender.  Years later, the child’s doctor says, “The child’s behavior is so clearly that of an active little girl” – and the case is hailed as an unwavering success.

This story, as many of you probably know, does not end well. The doctor was John Money, and the child was David Reimer. As John Colapinto reported in his bestselling book, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, the case was anything but an unwavering success. He…

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