I just learned about John Money, and it’s fascinating (in a bad way – or perhaps disturbing is a better word) how much of his theories have influenced modern psychology.
Money proposed and developed several theories and related terminology, including gender identity, gender role, gender-identity/role and lovemap. He popularized the term paraphilia (appearing in the DSM-III, which would later replace perversions) and introduced the term sexual orientation in place of sexual preference, arguing that attraction is not necessarily a matter of free choice.
So now we know he’s pretty much the guy which all of the various gender identity stuff has come out of and also changing words (perversions to paraphilia) to make them more sanitized and less demonized.
Money was a professor of pediatrics and medical psychology at Johns Hopkins University from 1951 until his death. Between 1960 and 1961, he co-authored two papers with Richard Green, “Incongruous Gender Role: Nongenital Manifestations in Prepubertal Boys” and “Effeminacy in Prepubertal Boys: Summary of Eleven Cases and Recommendations for Case Management.”
Money established the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic in 1965 along with Claude Migeon who was the head of pediatric endocrinology at Johns Hopkins. The hospital began performing sexual reassignment surgery in 1966. At Johns Hopkins, Money was also involved with the Sexual Behaviors Unit, which ran studies on sex-reassignment surgery. In 2002 he received the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal from the German Society for Social-Scientific Sexuality Research.
He was also involved in getting gender assignment surgery off the ground and his books are veneers for pedophilia. This is seen more clearly:
Money participated in debates on chronophilias, especially pedophilia. He stated that both sexual researchers and the public do not make distinctions between affectional pedophilia and sadistic pedophilia. Money asserted that affectional pedophilia was about love and not sex.
If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or eleven who’s intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual […] then I would not call it pathological in any way.
Money held the view that affectional pedophilia is caused by a surplus of parental love that became erotic, and is not a behavioral disorder. Rather, he took the position that heterosexuality is another example of a societal and therefore superficial, ideological concept.
Clearly a great guy that they’re basing modern psychology and sexual theory on.
But that’s not all. The tragedy of David Reimer.
During his professional life, Money was respected as an expert on sexual behavior, especially known for his views that gender was learned rather than innate. However, it was later revealed that his most famous case of David Reimer, born Bruce Reimer, was fundamentally flawed. In 1966, a botched circumcision left eight-month-old Reimer without a penis. Money persuaded the baby’s parents that sex reassignment surgery would be in Reimer’s best interest. At the age of 22 months, Reimer underwent an orchiectomy, in which his testicles were surgically removed. He was reassigned to be raised as female and his name changed from Bruce to Brenda. Money further recommended hormone treatment, to which the parents agreed. Money then recommended a surgical procedure to create an artificial vagina, which the parents refused. Money published a number of papers reporting the reassignment as successful.
During subsequent appointments with Reimer and Reimer’s twin brother Brian, Money forced the two to rehearse sexual acts, with David playing the bottom role as his brother “[pressed] his crotch against” David’s buttocks. Money also forced the two children to strip for “genital inspections”, occasionally taking photos. Money justified these criminal acts by claiming that “childhood ‘sexual rehearsal play'” was important for a “healthy adult gender identity”.
For several years, Money reported on Reimer’s progress as the “John/Joan case”, describing apparently successful female gender development and using this case to support the feasibility of sex reassignment and surgical reconstruction even in non-intersex cases. Notes by a former student at Money’s laboratory state that, during the yearly follow-up visits, Reimer’s parents routinely lied to staff about the success of the procedure. When Money learned about this, he continued to misrepresent the results as a success for decades. By the time this was discovered, the idea of a purely socially constructed gender identity and infant Intersex medical interventions became accepted medical and sociological standard.
At 14 years old and in extreme psychological agony, Reimer was finally told the truth by his parents. He chose to begin calling himself David, and he underwent surgical procedures to revert the female bodily modifications.
David Reimer’s case came to international attention in 1997 when he told his story to Milton Diamond, an academic sexologist, who persuaded Reimer to allow him to report the outcome in order to dissuade physicians from treating other infants similarly. Soon after, Reimer went public with his story, and John Colapinto published a widely disseminated and influential account in Rolling Stone magazine in December 1997. This was later expanded into The New York Times best-selling biography As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (2000), in which Colapinto described how—contrary to Money’s reports—when living as Brenda, Reimer did not identify as a girl. He was ostracized and bullied by peers (who dubbed him “cavewoman”), and neither frilly dresses nor female hormones made him feel female.
On 1 July 2002, Brian was found dead from an overdose of antidepressants. On 4 May 2004, after suffering years of severe depression, financial instability, and marital troubles, David committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a sawed-off shotgun at the age of 38. Reimer’s parents have stated that Money’s methodology was responsible for the deaths of both of their sons.
Money argued that media response to Diamond’s exposé was due to right-wing media bias and “the antifeminist movement.” He said his detractors believed “masculinity and femininity are built into the genes so women should get back to the mattress and the kitchen”. However, intersex activists also criticized Money, stating that the unreported failure had led to the surgical reassignment of thousands of infants as a matter of policy. Privately, Money was mortified by the case, colleagues said, and as a rule did not discuss it.
All in all you have a clearly evil individual who caused a lot of damage based on using his theories to experiment on people. Yet his “theories” are basically dogma to modern psychology and sexual theory.
You wonder how people can believe such crazy things now like the recent trend of “What is a woman?” and you have this guy to thank in large part of that. It’s insane to me how what he advocated for made it into mainstream when he left a trail of destruction behind him. That would be like people today glorifying Epstein instead of everyone trying to cover it up, which is even more confusing.
How did this stuff get so much traction in a more ‘conservative’ point in the US?
Update – IFStudies usually has good stuff, but they interviewed someone who was trying to combine “gender” and Christianity. You can see it’s warped, even though she mentions Money and his bad perspective.