John Money

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John William Money (1921 – 2006), Ph.D., psychologist and sexologist who pioneered "sex-change" operations, "gender theory" and sexual identity studies.

Early Life and Training

Money was born near Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up near Wellington. He graduated from the University of Otago and became an instructor there before winning a grant to study at the University of Pittsburgh in 1947. He later went to Harvard for graduate work, and in 1951 arrived at Johns Hopkins University, in Maryland USA, where he spent the rest of his career, as a psychologist.

Career in USA

After studying infants born with ambiguous genitalia Money developed a theory that sexual identity is formed by upbringing rather than defined wholly by genes and hormones. The fallacy here was to try to use abnormal cases, especially of chromosomal abnormality, to make inferences about persons with normal chromosomes.

Early in his career, Dr. Money coined the terms “gender identity,” to describe the internal experience of sexuality, and “gender role,” to refer to social expectations of male and female behavior. The two concepts still drive much research into sexual identity.

He was among the first scientists to study the psychological experience of sexual confusion and to grasp possible ways to relieve suffering. He was an early proponent of sex reassignment surgery for men and women who believed that their biological sex was at odds with their sexual identity i.e.gender dysphoria

He was co-editor of the influential 1969 book “Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment,” He also consulted frequently with parents who were trying to decide how to raise a child with ambiguous or damaged genitals.

The Reimer Twins Case

In one of these cases, known as the “John/Joan” case, Dr. Money became embroiled in a controversy that was discussed widely and repeatedly in books and on television. The boy is now identified as Bruce later David Reimer.

On the advice of Dr. Money in 1966, the parents of this boy whose penis had been destroyed in a botched circumcision decided to raise their son as a girl. In 1973, Dr. Money reported that the child, who had been castrated and furnished with dresses and dolls, was doing well, and had accepted the new identity as a girl.

But in a 1997 report in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, a pair of researchers provided a detailed follow-up: the boy had repudiated his female identity at age 14 and had even had surgery to reconstruct his male genitals.

The report caused an uproar, and Dr. Money was criticized in news reports and in a book on the case. People called him a fraud.

In 2004, David Reimer, the victim of this grisly experiment, committed suicide. He shot himself in the head when aged 38. His twin brother, who had also been involved in the disturbing experiment, committed suicide too. His family blamed the effort to change Bruce's sex. The Reimer double tragedy is a warning about the specious claims of "gender theory".[1][2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Opinions on Sexuality, Innate or Changeable

In his 1988 book 'Gay, Straight and In Between', Dr Money wrote "Some people do change their sexual orientation. There is absolutely no harm in trying."


Dr. Money was married briefly in the 1950s. He died in Towson, Md. of Parkinson’s disease. [7]

See also