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Chapter 4-Gender and Sexuality Oct 22 2008

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University of Toronto St. George
Sheldon Ungar

Reading Notes 10-22-08 Chapter 4: Gender & Sexuality Introduction Gender, Sex, and the Case of DavidBrenda O 1986: identical 8 month old twin boys; brought to hospital to be circumcised O Had phimosis (closing of foreskin)- due to mechanical malfunctiondoctor error, the electric cauterizing needle released a surge of heat - it burnt off the entire penis of one boy O Parents sought med advice- little hope O 7 months later- parents deeply depressed; watched program on TV O Dr. John Money- was discussing how he had successfully assigned a male or female identity to children who external sex organs and internal reproductive systems were not clearly male or female O Parents contacted doctor, and after several months of deliberation proceeded with the surgery O July 3, 1967- David Reimer underwent surgical castration and reconstructive surgery- he became Brenda Reimer O Post surgery- (coming years)- parents gave Brenda dolls, skipping rope, dolls, etc- and female hormone- estrogen at puberty O Davids sex reassignment was dramatic proof that the gender identity option is open at birth for normal infants O But in March 1997; scientific scandal published against this process- DavidBrenda actually struggled against hisher imposed girlhood from the start O Not wanting to wear dresses, urinate standing up, walking like a guy, sat with legs apart, talked about guy things etc O 1979- Brenda made decision to stop living as a girlstop having sexual reconstructive surgery O 1980- family finally told Brenda what happened to her O Age 16- started taking male hormones- had breasts removed, and a penis surgically constructed O 23- had intercourse, 25 got married, adopted wifes 3 kids O At age 34- David Reimer committed suicide Defining Male and Female: Sex and Gender O Your sex depends whether if you were born with male or female genitalia and a genetic program that released either male or female hormones to stimulate the development of your reproductive system Table 4.1: Summary of Biological Sex Differences During Typical Fetal Development Variable Female Male Chromosomal Pattern XX XY Gonadal ovaries testes Hormonal More estrogens than androgens More androgens than estrogens + MH Sex Organs Uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina, Epididymis, vas deferens, seminal clitoris, labia vesicles, prostate, penis, scrotum O Gender: comprises the feelings, attitudes, and behaviours associated with being male or female O Gender Identity: identification with, or sense of belonging to, a particular sex- biologically,
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