Dr. John Money was a sexologist and psychologist whose area of expertise was gender and sexuality. He was one of the first to study the impact of the societal construct of gender. While his work is often recognized as innovative and celebrated as such, he has also been the target of much criticism due largely to a high-profile gender reassignment experiment that was unsuccessful and ultimately led to a patient’s suicide. Dr. Money died in 2006.
Dr. John Money
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Much of the criticism of Dr. Money centers around the case of David Reimer. When Reimer was an infant, he lost his penis to a botched circumcision. Dr. Money advised his parents to raise him as a girl. Reimer received surgery and hormone therapy. According to accounts he gave as an adult, Reimer also had therapy with Dr. Money where he and his twin brother were made to act out sexuality activities with David acting as the receiving partner in the name of developing a healthy gender identity. As an adult, David Reimer opted to live as a man and eventually took his own life, a tragedy his parents attributed to Dr. Money’s methodology.
This case is often cited in the argument against assigning a gender to intersex babies. Money, whose own views on gender changed over the years, was said to be mortified by this case in his later years.