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As Nature Made Him: the Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl is a book by John Colapinto and was published and its first edition released by HarperCollins on February 2nd, 2000. This book is a 320 page work that raises thought provoking circumstances, so as to challenge people out of their traditionally and morally encapsulated cocoons towards matters that pertain to sex, sexuality and gender issues. The book is presented in an organized manner such that in the first part of the book, Colapinto presents a picturesque depiction of fate and how this fate evokes corrective measures and reactions. Eventually, readers are presented with a foundation with which or against which they can launch their arguments. The theme of the book is that matters that pertain to sexuality and sexual identity are too complex to be debated, being underscored by hormonal developments, gender courses, social-cultural distinctions of sex and gender and the accumulation of an individual’s life experience.
Summary of Content
This 320 page book is divided into 12 sections after the bibliography and the autobiography, the first part of the book is introduced, gender identity takes the pace as the first part of the book. The second part deals with the concept of medical intervention and anatomy, and the possibility of medical intervention on one’s anatomy being successful.
The fourth part of this book has to do with the place of nature as a construct that supersedes the intervention of man, and the reality of nurturing as part of human intervention. This is a reality presented in David Reimer (case), whom by nature, was by nature, endowed with male characteristics, being genetically a male. Nevertheless, due to the botched circumcision, the attempt to override nature, the attempted nurturing of the female sex that was induced on him could not work out. This chapter exists to prove that sexuality (being male or female) is a construct that surpasses the power of thinking, acquisition of sexual organs or even the inducement of sex hormones.
The place of psychology is tackled in general, followed with the relation between psychology and human sexuality as the fifth and sixth subject of the book. The seventh part of this book tackles the relationship between psychology and human sexuality in the light of David Reimer. As seen in Reimer’s case, beneath the acceptance of oneself as either male or female, is general acceptance. The case touching on Reimer had to flop because, despite having given female body organs, his hormones and brain dictated otherwise. This conflict precipitated into an intrapersonal, and later, interpersonal conflict. This eventually gives way to ostracisation and loneliness.
The eighth subject of this book is concerned with science, so that it opens up the discussion on the relationship extant among science, life sciences, genomics and genetics as the ninth subject of the book. The concept of genetics and how the same play a role in sexual identity of the individual are tackled. The fact that sexuality is a quality deeply imbedded in the DNA encoding means that the very identity, though processes and brain functions, among other faculties, are elements that are hard to change.
The tenth subject of this book has to do with general sex change and case studies on sex change. The complex interplay of the DNA encoding as the main sex determining factor, hormones and brain functions are all matters that are deeply and widely mooted. Looking at Reimer’s case, it emerges clear that must be considered by doctors, parents and other stakeholders, on the verge of carrying out a sex change. To this effect, it becomes clear that the mistake Reimer’s parents and doctors made was carrying out the exercise without considering his age. It as at the post-puberty stage that hormones are expressly clear about the sexuality of an individual.
The eleventh subject of this book touches on different interdisciplinary approaches in social sciences, in relation to gender studies. The book then concludes with a comprehensive discussion on transsexuals and a look at the same as a reality that is perennially extant in Canada. This section reveals that sexuality is a matter that is underpinned by psychology, anthropology, matters pertaining to religion and even philosophy.
Personal Critic of the Book
It emerges clearly that the book remains an incisive read, given that it seeks to present the reality, essence and seriousness that sexuality and sexuality identity should be treated with, vis-à-vis, Reimer’s case. That Reimer’s case is one of botched circumcision which destroys his male sexual organs, leading to him being subjected to a sex change without his consent, and an intrapersonal struggle and eventually suicide, is a matter that evokes careful treading into the topic, open-mindedness and a comprehensive inquiry into the matter. By mentioning Reimer’s case, Colapinto reminds the general audience that sexual identity crises are matters that transcend opinion and ideals.
Personally, the most likeable characteristic of this book is the manner in which it tackles the concept of sexuality and sexual identity in a manner that is sobering, candid and dexterous. Through the upheavals and sleight of fate, Reimer is compelled to undergo sex change, without his consent. This development, leading him to commit suicide, inculcates into the mind of the reader, the fact that this is a serious matter, needing sobriety, seriousness and insightful thinking. It is upon all these factors being factored that the problem can therefore be looked with objectivity, in lieu of subjectivity.