Monday, February 8, 2010

All State Speech

Tonight at 4:10 pm I found out that 8 out of the 19 speech groups that competed at State competition at Linn Mar made it on to All State. The groups that made it were

Dumped-Solo Mime
White Water-Group Mime
War Memorial-Group Mime
Group Improv
Worlds Afire-Ensemble Acting
Domestic Violence-Ensemble Acting
I Love You Your Perfect Now Change-Musical Theatre
Almost Maine-Ensemble Acting

Congratulations to all who made it!!!


As Nature Made Him : My Opinion

This story has a lot of information that is beneficial to science and the study of sexual reassignment. Not only does it show a case that went terribly wrong and ruined not only one person but a whole family’s life it shows how scientists and experts can be terribly wrong in their analysis of things. John Money thought that nurture could override nature but obviously that is not the case in this example. Before this experiment was done; which came to be known as the “Twins Case”, sexual reassignment surgery on infants was not uncommon. In fact it was the answer to a lot of parents’ prayers when their child was either born with an enlarged clitoris or an underdeveloped penis. Instead of growing up with that abnormality they would just switch them and have them grow up in a different sex.
Intersexuality, Hermaphroditism, and Transexuality has perplexed many for ages. When a baby is born and that first question arises, “Is it a girl or a boy?” and the answer is you really just don’t know that is a sad and perplexing issue. This is the type of thing that John Money specialized in and committed his life to researching however he went about it in the wrong way. The epic question is sexuality determined by your genetic makeup or does it have something to do with how you are raised and brought up in the world. That is a question that almost everyone is dying to know. Now I can’t sit here and say that this book definitely states that this is in fact not true that sexuality is based on your genetic makeup and that it is because there have been successful cases of gender reassignment surgeries. For example another one of Money’s patients Paula was born as a boy with an underdeveloped nonfunctioning penis so her mother opted to go through with gender reassignment surgery. Although today Paula has a lower voice than usual and her vagina is not like a normal looking vagina she is a happy healthy 27 year old woman who, unlike Brenda, led a mostly happy childhood.
This book does however give substantial information on the other side saying that sexuality is in fact based on ones genetic makeup and that a person’s sexuality cannot be forced upon someone. Brenda always knew that there was something different about her, that she was not meant to be a girl. She was never told anything otherwise to make her think that she was at one time actually a boy. She just knew that she was not a girl, she was a boy. This is only the result of her genes and this shows that your genetic makeup does in fact play a major part in deciphering your sexuality.
Before this case doctors didn’t think twice about giving gender reassignment surgeries but after this case was publicized doctors were more cautious and not as willing to do them. This is a significant pro to the outcome of this experiment because now doctors are more hesitant to switch a child’s gender and therefore the child can at least try to grow up in the gender which they were meant to and they don’t have to go through all the pain that David went through. The obvious cons to this experiment is the tragic story of David Reimer and his family and what they all had to go through. They underwent a lot of pain and suffering all because of one accident that changed their lives forever. The Reimers didn’t know what was in store. I’m sure if they did they would have never chose to switch over their boy from male to female so easily.
Obviously there are still many questions to be answered in this field of medicine. Just because of this experiment there is not one black and white answer whether it is nature or nurture that makes you who you are. There is various evidence supporting the nature side of this issue, but there are cases that show us that nurture also can have a profound effect on someone’s life. You cannot be raised by someone and be totally unaffected by them so there is still a lot of studies to be done and more answers to be found.

As Nature Made Him : Summary

Nurture vs. Nature has been a topic of discussion among the scientific community for as long as science has been around. If raised a certain way can people or animals turn out differently than if they were not? Can you raise a person to act a certain way and become that way even if their genes are telling them to do the exact opposite? That is what the fundamental question is at the base of this book, As Nature Made Him; The Boy Who was Raised as a Girl.
Both Ron and Janet Reimer were raised in the Mennonite faith/culture. Ron left to live on his own when he was in his late teens and this is when he met Janet. Both Ron and Janet had a lot in common so they got along well right away and not long after dating Ron proposed to Janet. They were happily married and on August 22, 1965 Janet gave birth to two twin boys, Bruce and Brian Reimer. The twins were both healthy and normal but one day Janet observed that they were having trouble peeing. They would cry and appear to be in great discomfort when they urinated and so she took them to the doctor at the Hospital in Winnipeg Canada where the boys were born. The doctor told them that a simple circumcision procedure would fix the problem. The night of the boy’s procedure Janet got a call that said that there had been an accident and she and Ron needed to come to the hospital. Shortly after arriving at the hospital they learned that their son Brian’s penis had been burnt off and was no longer functional. They were told that their son could go through phallic reconstruction. This would mean that extra flesh would be farmed from his thigh and abdomen to create a makeshift penis. The penis would not resemble, look, or function like a normal penis but Brian could still use it to go to the bathroom.
A few months after the accident however, Janet saw an interview with John Money, a psychologist who specializes in gender reassignment. He was being interviewed about transvestites and hermaphrodites. After seeing the interview Janet called Dr. Money and he asked to see Brian as soon as possible. Dr. Money gave the Reimers hope that there were other options they had in their son’s future. He talked to them about gender reassignment and perhaps putting their child through surgery to turn his shriveled up penis into a vagina and raise him not as a boy but instead as a girl. Dr. Money believed, “…psychologically, sexuality is undifferentiated at birth and that it becomes differentiated as masculine or feminine in the course of the various experiences of growing up.” (p. 33). Overall nurture could override nature when it came to being male or female. So with great deliberation the Reimers chose to go through with the operation and soon Brian Reimer was Brenda Reimer.
Brenda was raised like any other normal girl. She was dressed up in nice, lace covered dresses. She was given dolls and girly things to play with and was surrounded by a mother who would try to teach her girly things like baking and sewing. As Brenda got older though, it soon became apparent that she wanted nothing to do with these things. She was much more interested in playing with her brother’s toy trucks and things and she would always get in fights with boys at school. When she was younger it was easy for her parents to dismiss this as nothing more than tom boyishness.
Throughout her school years Brenda was a bit of a social outcast, none of the girls wanted to play with her because she wasn’t like them and none of the boys wanted to play with her because she was a girl. She didn’t fit in anywhere and this isolationism showed in her behavior and her schoolwork. She was not excelling in school at all and in the first grade was even held back. She never got good grades and didn’t get along with anyone, teachers or students alike. She would get in fights with girls and boys.
Brenda continued to go to yearly checkups with Dr. Money where he would ask her questions about her genitalia, her sexual fantasies, and her life at school and other things. It was very clear during these sessions that Brenda didn’t “act” or “feel” like a girl in any way. Dr. Money would ask her, “Do you feel like a girl?” Brenda would answer “no”. When asked one day to draw a picture of herself Brenda drew a stick figure. Dr. Money asked if it was a boy or a girl and Brenda answered “It’s a boy, I don’t feel like a girl.” David (who was then Brenda) recalls Dr. Money doing such unorthodox things during these counseling sessions. He would show her pornographic pictures and make her do sexual things with her brother and soon Brenda did not like going on these trips to visit Dr. Money. She would go into such a state of distress whenever the subject of their yearly visits arose that her parents had to bribe her with expensive trips to get her to go.
Overall the signs that the procedure was not working were everywhere. Brenda was not happy with who she was inside or out, her mother was clinically depressed and tried to commit suicide, her dad resorted to alcohol to solve his problems and Brenda’s brother Brian was rebelling to try and get the attention from his parents that was being taken up by Brenda. Eventually Brenda was told of the horrible accident and at age 15 she decided to have surgery to become male. How she was originally born.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

You're so skinny! Thank you?

The other day my dad was driving me to my flute lesson and he told me about an article that he read about the "You are too skinny" comment. He felt like sharing this with me because myself like my mother are both very thin structured. We have always been that way, I have yet to break one hundred pounds (but don't worry! I'm getting there!!). I have a multitude of medical problems mainly I have Cardiac induced asthma and Tachycardia Rythmia which makes my heart beat faster than normal and abnormally. On the list of problems with me eating disorder is NOT one of them! I used to hate it when in middle school people would call me Anorexic or Bulemic just to be funny. Guess what people joking about serious eating disorders like that is not funny at all. Some people are so worried about the way they look that they actually go to these extremes and do these atrocious things to themselves. That however is not the point, the fact that people take the time to demean other people just because they are thinner than you is not acceptable. My dad told me about this article and in it the author said that it isn't uncommon for people to say "Oh you're so skinny! You need to eat more!" When in reality you would'nt go up to an obese person and say, "Oh you're so fat! You need to eat less!" Do you see how those two are related? Yes they are exactly the same! It hurts just as much when someone calls you skinny as when someone calls you fat. Just because I am thin DOES NOT mean I don't eat. Heck I love food! I eat it all the time! It isn't my fault I have a high metabolism and it doesn't show up. You shouldn't comment on somebodys appearance unless it is something nice and worthwhile to say because you don't know what kind of life that person has or how their body works. There are two sides to obesity. So next time you feel the urge to tell someone to eat more, don't it is really annoying and just makes them want to smack you. Oh and use the term "thin" not "skinny" we aren't walking skeletons okay??? :P