Why do you think David “knew” he was a boy despite what others were telling him (his external genitalia was female due to surgical procedures implemented by Dr. Money)?
Do you think gender identity is biological or psychological? Is Gender Identity a result of Nature or Nurture? Justify your answer.
Discuss the case of “Noah” from the video “Middle Sexes” Or Jacob from the video “Jacob’s Journey”. What would you do if you were Noah or Jacob’s parents? Would you allow him or her to express them self as the gender she/he desires or would you take a difference course of action if you were his parent? What would you do? Be specific. How would your family and friends react to your decisions. Would they be supportive or would you be criticized?
David Reimer was born a boy, knew he was male, felt “male” although he had no penis. A common reaction to David is that of support: “of course he knew he was a male despite that his anatomy revealed female genitalia. He was male, he felt male and knew his gender identity.” However, the support is not as unconditional with individuals like “Noah.” Noah will grow up and may face incessant verbal abuse, discrimination and possibly be the target of hate crimes because his gender expression is different from his biological sex.
What’s the difference between these two individuals? If any? Why is David met with empathy and compassion and adults like Noah and Jacob are often ostracized and targeted with hate? Do you think Male to female transgender individuals (like Caitlyn Jenner) are treated differently than Female to Male transgender individuals (like Chaz Bono)?
If we believe that a person knows his or her gender despite the reproductive anatomy, why does society treat these two individuals so drastically different?
The video on youtube is https://youtu.be/GXJN_zXcspM
Required Video: The David Reimer Story 13min
Required Video: This is the tragic story of David Reimer. He was born a boy, but because of a mistake during circumcision, his penis was severed. The parents, under the direction of Dr. Money, decided to raise their son as a girl. Money believed in social learning theory, that children develop gender roles as a result of what they are taught. They surgically removed his testicles and underwent several operations to transform him into a girl. As a teen he took hormones to facilitate the process. The experiment was a tragic failure, because David knew something was wrong, despite what his anatomy told him and what the doctors and parents told him. Late in his teens he stopped taking hormones and resumed his identity as a male, but the psychological damage had been done.
David was a boy trapped in a female body. He KNEW he was a male, but his anatomy suggested otherwise and the doctor’s and parents told him otherwise. What would that be like? Knowing psychologically that you are one gender, but your anatomy tells you that you are wrong. The doctors and parents tell you you are wrong. What would that be like?
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