Category: Gender & Orientation

Disappointing Sex. What happened?


Dear Dr Ren,

As a woman of a certain age, I learned to follow the rules. That included marrying a man I liked immensely, and burying my sexual attraction to women. My husband died three years ago, after which I decided it was time to act on this attraction.

Recently, I told one of my girlfriends my “secret,” and she shared that she’d had some girl on girl action in college. A bottle of wine later, I got to act on my desires for the first time.

Sadly, this is not a letter of rejoicing. I was ready for anything, but the experience was a complete letdown. I didn’t even have an orgasm.

I’m so depressed. I always thought sex with my husband was dull because I wasn’t really into his body. Now I finally have sex with my body of choice, and the sex is still boring! Is there something wrong with me?

I am so…


Dear Disappointed,

Sex, romance, desire, compatibility—all such complex experiences. We so want them to be straightforward and understandable. Media representations of ‘falling in love’ look so easy. Real life, however, requires some basic skills.

Not only do we need to know what it is that we like personally, we need to know how to communicate those wishes and how to hear the longings of our partners at times when blood is literally and figuratively rushing in our ears…and other bits.

First time sex is a cache of material for comics. We can all recount stories of sex gone wrong on first encounters. Add that bottle of wine, so useful to drown inhibitions but also so conducive to sloppiness, and you have the makings of a regretful evening. Please don’t use your one, sodden lesbian tryst as a yardstick for what your future sex life may be! I’ll bet if you recall your initial heterosexual encounter, you’ll nod with humorous recognition as well!

Another factor at play here is that, to date, you have been sexual with two friends. I suspect that if you play with someone to whom you are erotically attracted—I mean really sexually besotted—you’ll feel the earth move. Desire and arousal fuel one another.

So far you’ve been a good girl. You’ve followed the rules, played it safe, coloured inside the lines.  You have, quite correctly, identified this period in your life as time for you to meet your own needs. Your task now is to identify what those needs are.

In order to find lovers in synch with you, you’ll need to learn your own body’s appetites, so long buried. Become your own best lover so you can teach others what your body likes.

Experiment with masturbation toys. Learn whether you respond to penetration by using dildos and smooth, insertable vibrators. Think you are a clitoral gal? Your choices are many and varied. Do your swelling labia beg for attention? Or perhaps you respond wildly to anal or nipple stimulation. You don’t have to choose just one. Each of us expresses a unique symphony of preferences.

The point is there is no right—or wrong—answer to the ways arousal works for you, and Bloom is here to respond to the full range of women’s sexuality. There are toys for every woman’s choices.

Do not be discouraged. You are new to a grand journey of discovery. Give yourself permission to explore your possibilities. You’ll then be ready to share your knowledge with partners who can appreciate and augment your power and joy.

First Time Lesbian Sex

Dear Dr Ren,

I’ve always dated men, and happily so. I like sex with men. But recently I watched some lesbian porn that really turned me on. I would like to find out what sex with another woman would be like, but I’m not interested in adopting a lesbian lifestyle.


restful bedroomDear Curious,

You are what we describe as “bi-curious.” Though you are not actually questioning your heterosexual orientation, you would like to experiment with what sex with a woman feels like. This is common, especially as our culture is becoming more tolerant of sexual experimentation. Recent research, notably by Meston and Diamond, validates the fluidity of women’s erotic arousal targets throughout their lifespans.

With access to internet dating, realizing our fantasies can be a reality fairly easily. Remember that the majority of lesbian porn is still made by men, for men. The sex you are likely watching would not approximate your real life experience. To see how lesbian sex is in real life, seek out erotica made by and for lesbians.

How will sex with another woman be different?

First of all, there will be a lot more talking, and sex will take hours. Women tend to put emphasis on different aspects of sex. You will likely discover a more languid pace. Penetration is not a given. Dominant and submissive roles are not based on sex-role stereotyping, so initiation and flirtation must be shared or at least negotiated on some level.

Your emotions, too, will need to be managed. Sex with someone new is captivating, and the cascade of endorphins you’ll enjoy will feel a whole lot like falling in love. To avoid appropriately hurt feelings, you’ll need to stay aware.

Choose your partners carefully. Be clear with your intentions. Nobody wants to be a science experiment.

Once you’ve contemplated these factors and are ready to try dating, consider seeking bi-sexual women rather than those who identify as lesbian. The advantages are:

  • Bisexual women will better understand your primary identification as a straight woman. Many of them will share your diversity of attraction.
  • Bisexual women have a comfort with the bodies of both men and women, and what sex with same and divergent sex parts is like.
  • Identify yourself clearly as bisexual seeking an experience. This alerts lesbian women looking for another woman who DOES live the lifestyle.

If you want to proceed to finding a suitable date for this new adventure, see

Does this make you a lesbian?

You tell me you are curious about sex with a woman, but don’t want to adopt a lesbian lifestyle. There’s not one model, you know.

In other words, be willing to change your plans. Sex is mightily powerful, and so is friendship, and sex between women involves both. If you find yourself happy and content with a woman you intended to be solely an experiment, be prepared to change course. It is always your choice.

Don’t let these considerations to deter you from indulging your curiosity. Indeed, it is repressing our eroticisms that torments us and our lovers far more greatly than those we realize. Still, these are not mathematical equations you are trying to solve. Expecting this to go smoothly is unrealistic.

Be brave, be adventuresome, and be prepared. Immerse yourself in the heady intoxication of discovering something about yourself that you didn’t know beforehand. It will leave you smiling.


How to Find a Bi-Curious Lover

All your life you’ve dated men, and now you find yourself curious about what sex with another woman would be like. How do you begin? Where do you go?

Focus on what appeals to you

What is it about sex with another woman that now appeals to you? Is it the allure of making love with a body that is soft and curvy like yours is? Are you drawn to the notion that lesbian sex involves lots of oral sex and little demand for penetration? Do you have any idea whether that is true? Do you imagine that sex between two women would be somehow softer or less demanding, or be more trust-worthy, or involve fewer games?

Do you identify as more Butch or femme? Is this an important consideration for you in seeking a date? Do you want to find someone who leads the action, or would you prefer to take that role?

Sex between women is as varied as sex between any other two individuals. Some generalized differences are that sex will involve lots more talking and a slower, more languid pace. But each encounter is negotiated either verbally or silently as both lovers initiate and respond to the momentum of desire.

Where Do You Go to Find A Date?

Who appeals to you? Whom do you know that is familiar with or identifies already as a bisexual woman? Let those friends know you are considering dating another woman and share with them your preferences. Ask for invitations to group activities and social functions.  And of course there are always Personals ads.

Preparing a Personals Ad

Before you write that Personals ad, examine which of your beliefs is accurate and which is not. Read some books by and about bisexual women’s first time sexual experiences with women. Talk with other women who share this experience. Educate yourself about the specific safer sex considerations lesbian women consider that may be the same or different from their heterosexual sisters.

Find a recent picture that portrays you accurately and positively. Write and rewrite your ad to make sure it is catchy but truthful. After reading a number of ads, you’ll get a feel for what goes. Don’t forget to mention not only who you  are, but also what sort of person and experience you are seeking. Be clear.

There are a number of sites that cater to women seeking women, and some that allow a distinction between lesbian and bisexual women. You want to join a site that is sex-positive and bisexual-friendly, such as or Look for others and determine which sites best suit your needs.

With a bit of reading, discussing, searching and writing, you’re ready to embark on a brand new sexual experience. Enjoy yourself!





Am I Gay?

Whether we call it orientation, sexual preference (which assumes we have choice), or perversion (which assumes we have judgments), the topic of whom we love can cause great emotional turmoil. The following is a distillation of a common question.

Dear Dr Ren,

I am a 16-year-old male. Recently another boy in my class hugged me and told me that I am really a girl. I knew that was stupid, but I still became confused, tense, and depressed. Now I am not feeling excited thinking about women the way I did before this incident. Honestly, I liked it when he hugged me, but I certainly don’t feel like I’m a girl. I am really anxious about all of this. Please tell me, Doctor…. Am I gay?


Dear Confused,

I can’t tell you whether or not you are gay. I don’t have enough information, and neither do you. You are only sixteen and, though some of us are aware of our orientation earlier than that, most find it takes us a while in the dating scene to determine the sorts of people that attract us. This refers not only to their gender (male or female) but to their personalities, physical characteristics, and other qualities and attributes we can’t know until we get to know someone a bit.

Of course it felt good to have your friend hug you. His remark about your being a girl was his confusion that if he liked hugging you, you must be feminine (so he wouldn’t feel gay himself….we learn to fear alternative sexualities before we learn the facts). This is just his ignorance, and he will figure this out as he gets more experience. You may sometimes feel drawn to women and other times to men. Adolescence is a time for learning all sorts of things about yourself, including your sexual orientation. You may be gay; you may not. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you learn to treat others with compassion, patience, and respect. This will help you to form meaningful, happy bonds with whomever you choose to love. The physical plumbing, when all’s said and done, is really pretty irrelevant.

Relax and enjoy this exciting transition period as you grow from child into adult. The answers you are seeking will come to you. Moreover, whatever answers you learn about yourself, they’ll be just right for you.


Dr Ren

Desire vs. Lifestyle

Coming out is a process as individual as fingerprints. Though there are surely commonalities in the experience, the process of coming to terms with one’s atypical orientation is dependent upon myriad determinants: Have you always known? Were you aware but content in a heterosexual relationship, and so divorced from the turmoil? Were you happily heterosexual until midlife, when you fell in love with a friend?

The age at which we first know we are gay frames our response to this knowledge. Family culture influences the development and acknowledgement of a gay identification. The young women in this month’s feature article (see sidebar) would and do tell a quite difference story about their adoption of sexual labels than do those children reared in restrictive and sex-negative homes. When we are young, our most important source of acceptance is our parents. We depend upon them less as we age; never does their opinion of us become irrelevant. It’s often difficult to talk with our parents about sex period, never mind our personal sexual activities, especially if our orientation meets with disapproval or worse.

Culture at large contributes other messages that confound determining exactly who we are sexually. Some find more support in urban communities than in their nuclear families. Friendship circles become extended family, in which new and different ‘family values’ develop. Some people remain closeted throughout their lives, made captive by their fear of censure.

Unfortunately, our culture still reminds us far too often of the threat to those defined as different. And when the difference involves the taboo subject of sex, reactions often get amplified. As the women at the Montreal Massacre were persecuted for their gender, so too is there a litany of names of those killed because they were homosexual.

School aged kids call each other “faggot” in derision, often not understanding the concept but knowing it is something very bad. Grown heterosexual men bristle at the suggestion that they might “swing for the other team.” Even in such open-minded forums as swingers’ parties and ‘pansexual’ play parties, it is rare to see men relating sexually to each other. The “grrlz” get a bit of a pass in those venues, but bear the full weight of their families’ disappointment and rejection. Nor is society past the sniggering dismissal of single, childless women.

In Kinsey’s sex history questionnaire, respondents are asked why they have not had more homosexual experiences than they have. Most report lack of interest, but a disturbing number reveal an unwillingness or inability to pay the toll such behaviour will cost. We need to stay aware that sharing a sexual experience with someone of the same gender does not ‘make’ us homosexual. There is no queer button that, once pushed, remains forever ‘on.’ Kinsey found that 37% of males had experienced a homosexual encounter to the point of orgasm by adulthood. Females rang in considerably less at about one in four. Clearly, not all those people adopt a homosexual label or lifestyle. Experimentation, whether sexual or not, is the basis of learning. We have all sorts of relationships with all sorts of people, and it is only natural that some of those will grow to include intimate and erotic behaviour. If we did not fear social condemnation, far more of us would expand our horizons to consider lovers of all genders. This freedom would permit us to make enduring lifestyle choices more accurately.

By releasing ourselves from the expectation that any encounter may define our sexuality, we can allow ourselves the freedom to experience and embrace or discard, based on our desires, not on family or social pressures.

Desire, especially sexual desire, is so thrilling that we are wise to welcome it in whatever form it appears to us. If we challenge our sex-negative beliefs and our homophobic anxieties, we open to life-enhancing possibilities. The more of those, I say, the better!

Same-Sex Marriage, Part I

“I Cannot Breed in Captivity” ~ Gloria Steinem

At the beginning of May, the British Columbia Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling by an appeals court regarding same sex marriage restrictions. The unanimous decision echoes those of the Supreme Courts of both Ontario and Quebec. Effectively, this means that all of us can choose to marry if we wish, regardless of gender or orientation. This victory for civil rights is not a fait a compli. The Supreme Court of Canada has a year to consider this decision and uphold or overturn it. Still, this third ‘yes’ vote signifies a powerful advance toward inclusion.

There are many who endorse Ms. Steinem’s sentiments regarding the institution of marriage and scratch their heads at why this is an issue at all. After all, marriage is a relatively new concept, only a few hundred years old, and designed to protect the inheritance trail of wealthy landowners; romance and love had little to do with it. The original reasons for marriage have long since deteriorated and been transformed into a social statement of love and commitment. Our government offers tax incentives to those who choose to sign on, and community property legislations offer some protection for wives and children. Even so, marriage is now a business (a multi-million dollar business!) and a social tradition that endures despite the objections raised by feminists during the sexual revolution of the sixties and an ever-growing acceptance of living together without benefit of legal approval.

For those who long to make public their mutual dreams of life together, this legislation validates their wishes. No longer denied the rights of others, gays and lesbians can soon choose whether to marry. This marks another important step away from the shame and fear associated with being inside the closet and outside the realm of acceptability. Surely, this is reason to celebrate!

Love is difficult to find and even more so to sustain and nurture. Lesbians and gays know full well the lack of social supports others enjoy in enduring the inevitable strains of living together. This legislation will provide an important link to community backing. It will, as well, protect children and guarantee the rights and responsibilities heretofore taken for granted by heterosexuals. No longer must couples fear losing property to obscure blood relatives, or worry about how medical staff will respond to a mate’s directives about life-threatening crises. In other words, lesbians and gays will be treated pretty much like everyone else.

Religious adherents and other conservative thinkers will object to this legislation. We must weigh their arguments about the perceived threat to the family, and eventually we will need to redefine the term. ‘Family’ will come to mean those who love and protect one another, who support and nourish their bond, and who identify as a small group within a larger community. Come to think of it, isn’t that already a working definition? Let’s embrace all those who come together in love and kindness, companionship and care, and welcome everyone who chooses to celebrate publicly such society-sustaining values.

Kudos to our courts! The law often lags much farther behind in reflecting society’s values. Truly, this decision signals a reason for all of us to be proud, regardless of the gender of the people we love.

Same-Sex Marriage, Part II

May’s newsletter column dealt with Canada’s Supreme Court ruling that prohibiting same-sex marriages contravened our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although I try to address different subjects each month, I believe this issue warrants further discussion. The new ruling has been effected in practical terms, and lesbians and gays are marrying legally. Let’s contemplate some of the possible spin-off effects of these changes.

For instance, when a heterosexual couple argues and the woman turns to her friends and family for solace and support, she is typically advised to cool off, pick her battles, and figure out how best to resolve the problem. Her community’s expectation is that the marriage will survive and endure, and this in turn supports the couple in resolving their conflict. Men, likewise, are often reminded of their commitment and responsibility and after a conversation with their buddies, they return home to smooth out the wrinkle. The expectation of continuity is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other hand, when gay and lesbian couples experience discord, they hear quite different messages. Gay couples are ‘expected’ to dissolve, often attributed to their ‘promiscuous’ lifestyles (another false stereotype, but nonetheless a powerful influence). Lesbian jokes abound about the ‘standard’ two and a half year relationship (one year of honeymoon, another of domestic stability followed by six months of unravelling prior to separation). These messages are subtle yet influential, and undermine the longevity of same-sex unions.

How might Canada’s inclusive marriage laws affect the community? I suspect that those who decried same-sex relationships as a threat to the family may now view those couples who opt to legalize their unions as supporting the same values. I’m hopeful that this may narrow the gap between homophobes and homosexuals. Socially, we view a spouse as more ‘valid’ than a boy- or girl-friend. As the definition of marriage expands, so too will that of ‘family.’ All married couples will have the same legal rights and responsibilities. Corollary laws (legal, medical, and educational concerns) will necessarily change to adapt to the laws governing marriage. The prophecy of serious, long-term commitment for same-sex couples may become, as for heterosexuals, self-fulfilling.

Perhaps I am being overly optimistic about the repercussions of our changing laws, and the social impact they may have. However, Canada is proving itself a leader in promoting such values as peace, inclusivity, and rationality. When I asked Silva Tenenbein, a seasoned activist, how she felt about Canada’s progressive politics and our new marriage laws, she replied, “I’m proud of being Canadian the same way I’m proud of being queer.” We’ve come a long way.

Can I Be a Lesbian and Date a Transman?

I’m a sex therapist in private practice. I’m asked all sorts of interesting questions on a regular basis. The following touched on sensitive and important issues deserving of being shared with others. Here’s the question. Do you agree with my answer?


I’m a politically active high femme lesbian. About ten years ago, I met an attractive Butch when we shared both political and social interests. We became friendly, and even sparked, but didn’t act on it.

Fast forward to the present. After years of living in different cities, we met again at a dance. Surprise! She’s transitioned to male. The chemistry is still there, and we’re both available, but now it all seems confusing. He’s asked me out, and his intentions are clear: to act on our long-standing mutual attraction.

I’m torn. I glory in being visible on the arm of a Butch woman…otherwise society reads me as straight. And my work is LGBT sensitive (as is his). My identity as a lesbian is clear.

Still, I know and like this person. We have good history, shared values, similar interests. This could be a wonderful opportunity.

Can I be seen as a lesbian and date this man? How do I maintain my identity when together we read as a straight couple?


Can you be seen as a lesbian? Nothing will change except when you are with your new lover. As a couple, you will probably be read by strangers as straight, just as you are now when alone. Outsiders will not recognize you.

You both work in queer-related jobs, and likely both have diverse circles of friends. Stay connected with your (now expanded) social network. You’ll find support there from those who matter.

You may encounter resistance even within your tribe, as identities and loyalties are sensitive to change. Some will resist the intersectionality of gender and sexual expression. However, you will come to understand difference and acceptance on a whole new level. When you analyze it, can you think of anything more transgressive than dating this man? It’s coming out multiplied!

And, don’t forget, you’ll now get to discover this person with whom you’ve shared a long term attraction, and to learn him as his authentic self!

Granted, you will be doing a lot of explaining. Even well-intentioned people will ask completely personal and inappropriate questions. You will need to be visible and vocal in entirely new ways. Dating a transman will stretch you, challenge you to examine how you feel about the rainbow of diversity that encompasses being different sexually and socially.

As your sense of sexandgender adjusts, you may need to adapt your language. “Queer” may fit better now than “lesbian.” There’s not one right answer, nor hurry to choose personally-appropriate labels. You can get yourself tee shirts that proudly proclaim you “Lesbian with an asterisk,” “Passing for straight,” or “Queer Femme,” and wear them while on your new man’s arm as well as when you are solo. Watch the world react, and monitor your own responses. A little discomfort is the price for challenging conven““`tion.

Make no mistake: you will be changed forever. Your sexuality will be recognized and responded to differently. Though your suitor is no more straight than you are, you’ll both be granted heterosexual privilege, even when you don’t want it. You will be in daring new territory and, as you develop your expanded identity, you’ll become more comfortable with your own way.

If you choose to date this old friend and comrade, do so because he is a transman, not despite it. He has lived within your camp, is fluent in your language, and appreciates feminism (and feminine!) in a truly unique way. And, wow!, does he get the Butch/femme dance!

Aim to match his bravery and authenticity with your own. The results may be spectacular! After all, the only time you run out of chances is when you quit taking them.

Lesbian Fisting: Intensity and Intimacy

When a group of women friends get together over a meal, the conversation often turns to matters of sex. When those friends represent various numbers on the Kinsey scale (zero being entirely heterosexual and six referring to completely homosexual), those conversations take on a depth and complexity—and sometimes hilarity—not found in textbooks on female sexuality.

I was fortunate to be privy to one such exchange not long ago. We weren’t far into our discussion before I realized I was immersed in valuable information for my readers. I began to take mental notes.

When the topic of vaginal fisting arose, the lesbians at the table nodded knowingly while most of the straight women scratched their heads. We women, all with the same physiological anatomy, realized some fundamental differences in how we experience lovemaking. I found it all fascinating, as did they.

The heterosexual women wondered why the lesbian women were interested in fisting. They spent their energy trying to get their partners to focus on their clitoris and to pay perhaps less attention to their vagina. It seemed to them that sex was forever concentrated on something being put inside them and, though they enjoyed that aspect of their sexuality, more penetration felt, well, redundant.

They threw the question back to the lesbians.

The lesbians’ experience of lovemaking was quite different. The clitoris is queen between women, who understand and appreciate that the sole purpose of that glorious organ is to produce pleasure. Much time is spent tending to the clitoris. By the time penetration comes onstage, arousal is high and lubrication copious. Endorphins, the bonding chemicals, are surging. Both women are seeking and experiencing intimacy.

When the bottom, the receptive woman, opens her body to her lover’s fingers, she does so devoid of the stereotypical power imbalance inherent in male/female dynamics. No one needs to jostle for power as they are equal everywhere except in this delicious act of penetrator and receiver. The opening up is simultaneously erotic and boundary-breaking. The act of penetrating personal and powerful. What could be more intimate than holding your hand inside your lover’s body? Or containing your lover’s hand inside your own?

Fisting takes practice. It requires relaxation, muscle control and great trust in your partner. It is very intense, which is another part of its attraction. Sex that includes fisting is memorable sex, notable sex. It is the kind of sex that forms a bond between women, tells a story between them that they never forget.

One woman said she “finally felt close enough”. Another described fisting as “the epitome of intimacy”. Yet another defined it as “the quintessence of lovemaking”.

At this point some of the straight women shared that they, too, enjoyed fisting, and also enjoyed quite egalitarian relationships with their male lovers. Some of the women-identified women added that they weren’t into fisting at all.

We simply don’t fit into neat little boxes when it comes to sex. We are as individual as fingerprints. Still, we can learn from the stories we hear when we put our feet under our friends’ kitchen tables and share our experiences about what turns us on.

Intimate and intense. Has a lot going for it.

The Cost of Knowledge… and Hubris

This article is dedicated to the memory of David Reimer, aka Bruce (and later Brenda), aka John/Joan/John, an unwitting and unwilling hero/victim in a grand experiment that showed great promise but went terribly, terribly wrong.

It began in 1966 when the eight month old twin boys born to rural Manitoba parents Ron and Janet Reimer were taken to Winnipeg to undergo what was thought would be routine circumcisions. (It is ironic that the book later written about this case would be entitled As Nature Made Him, for had baby Bruce been left as nature made him, he would never have become the subject of such interest). The procedure was horribly botched, reducing Bruce’s penis to a charred remnant. In 1966, phalloplasty was unknown.

What transpired next can be explored by listening to the audio posted at the NPR web site. Click here. Suffice it to say that the distraught parents made their way to Dr. John Money at Johns Hopkins in the States. There they learned that nurture, and not nature, determined gender identification, and the family, steered by Money, embarked on a course of action that ended thirty-eight years later with the little boy’s despondent suicide.

I believe Dr. Money meant well. I believe he believed he was correct when he stated that gender was malleable before the age of two or three. I believe he thought he was doing the youngster, and the world, an important favour.

But despite young Brenda’s (as she was renamed) protestations and copius evidence that the experiement had failed, Money held fast to his beliefs, his hubris overtaking his scientific responsibility to searching always for the truth. Brenda eventually refused any more visits to the doctor, refused any more hormones, refused to conform to the expectations of her parents and her culture. She led a tortured childhood until a day in her teens when her father, who could witness his child’s despair no longer, took her out for ice cream and told her the truth. Brenda, heartbroken and relieved, reverted to maleness and renamed herself David.

John Colopinto, a journalist, happened upon this story in the late 1990s and, following exemplary research and innumerable interviews, penned the story of this sad little child. As Nature Made Him kicked open all of David’s doors. He became, overnight, a media sensation. Dr. Money, on the other hand, retreated behind his academic walls and refused to make comment.

After his return to his proper gender, David set about making a life for himself. He eventually received some much-delayed phalloplasty and married a woman with three children. It began to look like this tragic story might have a happy ending after all. But earlier this month we learned that David Reimer took his own life. Despondent after losing his wife and children to divorce, his schizophrenic twin brother to suicide, and his fortune to a swindle, he quit fighting and overdosed.

And so we lost a reluctant hero who showed us that gender cannot be decided by anyone but ourselves. We come with gender, and temperament, and eye colour preordained. They are not for us to manipulate.

We need more compassion in how we greet those different from mainstream expectations. We need to listen to our children when they insist a mistake has been made in assigning them to the blue or pink lines. We’ve no right to make one more child suffer needlessly after poor David taught us so well that each of us is the expert on ourselves.

So here’s to you brave baby boy Bruce. We did you wrong, and you paid the extreme sacrifice for our devotion to seeing what we wanted to see. May you be the last that suffers such consequence.


David Reimer’s Obituary as posted on the CBC web site

Man raised as girl dies

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man who was the subject of a ground-breaking gender experiment has committed suicide.

David Reimer’s parents were advised to raise their baby boy as a girl after a failed circumcision in 1966. Reimer was castrated and subject to mental, social and hormonal conditioning to help him live his early life as a girl named Brenda.

Medical experts followed his development and socialization closely, comparing him with his twin brother in an experiment that came to be known as the Joan-John case during the 1960s and ’70s.

Reimer was a social outcast as a child and battled depression. He discovered the truth about himself when he was a teenager and decided to live as a male. He underwent testosterone injections, a double mastectomy and a phalloplasty and started a new life as a man.

Reimer eventually married and raised three stepchildren in Winnipeg.

The flawed experiment received worldwide publicity, and Reimer stepped out of anonymity in 2000 to reveal his story in the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl by John Colapinto.

Reimer took his own life last Tuesday. He was 38 years old.

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