Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The man raised as a girl killed himself

Poor guy. He never really had an easy time of it. If you don't know the story, his circumcision was botched so they decided to cut his penis off altogether and raise him as a girl. Bad idea, apparently, as he grew up feeling like a boy and decided to go with that sex as an adult.
His is an odd story, because people all over the place can feel secure condemning his doctor and parents. Lay off. They meant well, they really did. And if anyone has suffered as much over this as David Reimer, it was his parents.
Those of us on the whole sexual freedom side think it's sad that the world tried to wedge him into a pigeonhole that he didn't want or feel. Also, it's deeply offensive and downright bizarre to argue, as his doctor essentially did, that being a woman is just a matter of lacking a penis. We bristle, along with David, at the idea that womanhood is so easy to achieve, that all it is a lack, that women would be men but for their emasculation.
But I warn you now that's not how most people see his story. Most people hear David Reimer's story and they just hear a confirmation of their deepest prejudices, that we are born a certain sex and medicine and society can do nothing to change that. And therefore women need to quit agitating and get back to the kitchen where biology dictates they belong.
There's no real way to gauge why David felt himself male after being reared as a female. It could be that his body revolted. It could be that his family subconsciously reared him as female without meaning to. Hell, it could be that upon finding out the truth he thought that being female was stupid when male was an option and went with that. There's no telling. But this I do know. Despite that one case, tons of men and women are born all the time who for whatever reason don't feel that they are the sex they were saddled with, even though there is no biological or social reason to feel that way. And even those of us who pretty much stick to our gender roles fall all over the place on the masculine/feminine scale, and there's absolutely no way to proclaim a truth about what makes a person a "sex", at least not yet.
It's a shame that gender is such a pain in the ass. If there is anything I want in this world, it's a chance to declare that no one should ever be judged for acting outside or inside or around or whatever a gender role again. I like being a girl. I wear dresses and skirts nearly every day and I like wearing lingerie and high heels. But I also tend not to like make-up. And I don't like feeling like I have to do anything. To me, the main goal is advocating freedom. Shoulds, woulds, musts, and needs are all interesting but ultimately impossible to prove. So, the best thing would be to let people be themselves and refrain from arbitrary judgements.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with some of your ideas. your correct in saying that one should be free to explore and choose there own gender, the one they feel most compfortable with, without being discriminated against or judged as being less feminine/masculine than there biological sex steriotypically infers.However i think your wrong in completly disagreeing with biology.We all have genetic pre-dispottions to behave in a particular way, allowing survival of ones species. These are by no means determinants, but are influences, biological biases if you like. In David Reimers case it seems more plausable to suggest that his biological drives influenced his feeling of uncompfortableness towards his given gender identity. Its not just his parents and doctors, but his social setting that would have also allowed him to be identified as a women, but still this did not stop him goin back to what his body wanted. Our biology does not cause, for example, women to wash up because their women, its society that does that. Our biology just gives us a head start in life.
thats just what i think.

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