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As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl.

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl * By John Colapito * Harper Collins * $26

If you think surgical sex reassignment always leaves babies better off, read this book and get real. As Nature Made Him recounts the wrenching true story of baby Bruce Reimer, who lost his penis in a botched circumcision, and whose parents, guided by then-eminent medical expert Dr. John Money, had the baby surgically changed to a girl, whom they named Brenda.

It never worked. Although Money touted Brenda as a success story, the little "girl" put up a heroic resistance to the curls and frills he was supposed to warm up to. Aside from his physical injuries, he endured a shocking onslaught of psychological hurts. For one thing, Money hauled Brenda and his twin brother, Brian, in for annual "follow-ups" that included stripping the two small children naked and making them simulate having sex to show them what "normal" grownups do.

Finally, when he was 14, Brenda's parents caved in and told him the truth, and he began his journey back to manhood. He gave himself a new name--David, the giant slayer.

Now 34 and a veteran of multiple surgeries, including two phalloplasties, David Reimer is happily married. Aside from parenting his three adopted children, he reaches out to other families whose children have sustained injuries like his. In anybody's book, he's a man in full.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Stockwell, Anne
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 14, 2000
Previous Article:In the realm of the sexes.
Next Article:The Danish Girl.

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