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Boy Raised as Girl

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One of the most heated debates in the study of psychology is the issue of nature vs. nurture. It is very difficult to judge which is the more influential piece in development. However, most psychologists agree that many characteristics and personality traits are caused by nature and nurture working together. Through many developmental studies by excellent researchers, it may seem that the influence of nurture outweighs that of nature but that is not always the case.

In the book, Boy raised as Girl, Bruce and his twin brother Brian went to the hospital, at 22 months, to get circumcised. The procedure did not go as doctors had planned, and Bruce's penis was burned beyond surgical repair. Bruce's parents were so desperate for help that they went to John Hopkins Medical Center to see psychologist Dr. Money. They had recently seen Dr. Money on television for developing a reputation as a pioneer in the field of sexual development and gender identity, based on his work with intersex patients. Dr. Money was a very strong believer in the impact of nurture and told Bruce's parents that if he is caught early enough he could be raised to be a girl. Nurture and not nature determines a child's gender. He highly insisted that Bruce receive a sex change, and go by the name Brenda. He told "Brenda's" parents to raise her and treat her like a little girl, and have her come see him twice a week.

For a couple of years Dr. Money's plan was working and he even wrote a book, publishing his theory about nurture's impact over nature. Little did he know, he celebrated too soon. When Brenda began going to school she could not understand why she did not fit in with the other girls. She loved playing with trucks while her female classmates were playing with dolls instead. Brenda was being tormented and bullied by her peers, and neither frilly dresses nor female hormones made her feel like a girl. In the book, Boy Raised as Girl, David Reimer explains, that by the age of 15, Brenda told her parents she did not want to see Dr. Money anymore and that she will commit suicide if they made her see him. In 1980, Brenda's parents told her the truth about her gender reassignment, following advice from Brenda's endocrinologist and psychiatrist. Learning the truth was life changing for Brenda. She finally understood what had made her so different for so long. Because of this, at age 17, Brenda made a decision to change back to a male gender identity, calling herself David. By 1997, David followed through with the procedure to reverse the reassignment.

Due to all of the trauma David endured, he did not know who he was anymore. The stress was too much for him to handle and he ended up taking his own life. His death only made the situation worse for his family. David's brother, Brian, was already very depressed because of everything he had seen David go through. Shortly after David's death Brian



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