Sunday, September 12, 2021

Tal Bachman: We Have Met the Enemy, part XIX

A continuation of the tragic Reimer case. From Mark Steyn

Dr. Mel Grumbach, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco, seconded Reiner's assessment in the same article.

"Doctors were very influenced by the twin experience. John Money stood up at a conference and said, 'I've got these two twins, and one of them is now a girl, and the other is a boy...That's powerful. That's really powerful...This case was used to reinforce the fact that you can really do anything. You can take a normal XY male and convert it into a female in the neonatal period and it won't make any difference. John Money is a major figure, and what he says gets handed down and accepted as gospel...".

But as it happened, there was at least one scientist who didn't take Money's twin experiment as gospel. In fact, he'd doubted Money's announcement from the very beginning. And behind the scenes, for the next twenty plus years, he'd been doing everything he could to locate someone—anyone—with inside knowledge of the case. If he could only track down, say, a psychiatrist who had worked with the subject, or perhaps the subject himself, he believed he'd find proof Money had misrepresented the results of his experiment.

That would be important to know, because if Money had lied, the scientific rationale for the now-standard, Money-recommended practice of performing sex change operations on sexually underdeveloped male and intersexed infants (turning them all, as a matter of routine, into "girls") did not actually exist.

And if no scientific rationale existed...what was everyone even doing? Based ultimately on one single unverifiable (probably false) claim by John Money, doctors around the world, by the 1990s, had removed the sex organs of around 15,000 male infants only because their penises were underdeveloped at birth, and then later flooded them with estrogen and created artificial vaginas to turn them into "girls". Intersexed infants got the same treatment. If Money's "success" was the failure this doubter suspected, there was every reason to suppose this now-routine practice was actually mal-practice—that it had caused untold harm and heartache.

At least, this is what Money's doubter thought. For over twenty years, as Money's influence spread far and wide on the strength of his "scientific breakthrough", he had smelled one gargantuan, pungent rat. He just needed proof.

Who was this scientific doubter?

Why, none other than our old friend, Milton Diamond—the professor who first exposed Money in 1965, and who Money had been maligning ever since he triumphantly announced his "successful twin experiment" in 1972.

Diamond had been trying to find out the specifics of the twin case for two decades. He'd never succeeded. And so, Diamond—who had landed a full-time job at the University of Hawaii in the late 1960s—was relegated to placing a recurring ad in the American Psychiatric Society Journal. The ads always said the same thing: "Will whoever is treating the twins please report. Dr. Milton Diamond, University of Hawaii".

Year after year, the ad appeared. And year after year, a Canadian psychiatrist Milton Diamond had never heard of would see the ad, think about responding...and then, in the end, decide not to.

The reason? Fear. John Money—still at Johns Hopkins—had a long history of obsessive vindictiveness, explosions of rage, career-sabotage, and even physical violence against those he perceived as "enemies". For example, according to one eyewitness, on the one occasion Money had ever been in the same room as Milton Diamond (at a 1973 psychology conference in Dubrovnik), Money started screaming at Diamond in front of everyone, then tried to punch him. (Diamond's offense? Writing his 1965 takedown article of Money's absurd claims.)

The Canadian psychiatrist himself explained his reluctance to speak to Diamond about the case this way: "I was sh*t-scared of John Money. He was the big guy. The guru. I didn't know what it would do to my career".

Fortunately for the cause of truth, the psychiatrist's dreams of remaining anonymous finally evaporated one day in 1994. That was the day he picked up his ringing phone only to discover Milton Diamond on the other end. It had taken Diamond over twenty years, but he'd finally found someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone else, who gave him the name of the Canadian psychiatrist who could fill him in: Keith Sigmundson, then (as now) living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

The sheepish Sigmundson's first words were: "I was wondering how long it would take for you to get here".

Sigmundson knew full well what had happened to Bruce Reimer: he had started seeing the struggling "girl" in 1978 after school teachers referred the eleven year old "Brenda" to Winnipeg's Child Guidance Clinic. Sigmundson's involvement had lasted a number of years. And sure enough, the story he told was just what Diamond had suspected: one of the most famous scientific success stories of the past two decades—one serving as the basis of life-changing male-to-female infant sex-change surgeries—was no success at all. It was a catastrophic failure. Money had committed an outrageous fraud with devastating consequences for thousands. (Read more.)



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