Nature vs. Nurture Put to the Test

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Last year in my high school psychology class, we were discussing the extent of Nature vs. Nurture. After much discussion, my teacher introduced us to a man who was greatly involved in the debate; however, he wasn't a scientist and he didn't choose to be apart of the experiments. After some difficulties at a young age, Bruce Reimer and his twin brother were brought into the hospital to undergo circumcision. Unfortunately, doctors used a different method involving lasers and Bruce's penis was burned beyond surgical repair.
reimer2.jpgA renown doctor had been studying the extent of Nature vs. Nurture and suggested that the Reimer family raise the boy as a little girl. The family had come to terms that "he was a beautiful little girl" (CBS News). They changed his name to Brenda and gave him the life of a little girl. But once Brenda reached puberty, she became rebellious and stopped taking her hormone pills and they were unable to hide the truth any longer. After being told by his father, Brenda changed his name to David and underwent surgeries to fully become a man.1783_fs.jpg
I have always found the nature vs. nurture debate really interesting and after reading this story, I never realized how much not being able to be who you are affects you. The Reimer Family is a perfect example of how much our genes and environments factor into who we are to become. At the time of the accident, technology was not advanced enough to correct the incident immediately. Today, hormonal treatments are much more effective and doctors are more aware of the effects of our genes and environment. Another reason that David's initial sex change may have failed is the affect of having a twin brother to look to, and also having a mother who was not involved in wearing makeup, and dressing nicely.
The Reimer brothers' lives were a lie. After going public on Oprah about their story, both brothers committed suicide in their late thirties.

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But you said that he was taking hormones... wouldn't that suggest despite the environment (which was pressuring him for the most part to be a girl) that his genes overruled it? Nice point about the role the twin brother may have played.

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This page contains a single entry by sevol005 published on October 1, 2011 3:40 PM.

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