Manitoba

Man raised as girl dies

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

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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