Monday, February 8, 2010

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.

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