Dr. Diamond is an early pioneer in trans research. Outside of the trans community, he is best known for exposing the “John/Joan” case in which Dr. Money (who allegedly physically attacked Dr. Diamond years before) faked his research to make the world believe that gender identity is a choice.
We talk about his research experience, the history of terminology, his “rivalry” with John Money and more. I found Diamond to be gracious and interesting… I’m glad to have had an opportunity to talk with one of the original modern gender researchers.
Dr. Diamond is known for following up the case of David Reimer, a boy raised as a girl after a botched circumcision. With the cooperation of Dr. H. Keith Sigmundson, who had been Reimer’s supervising psychiatrist, he tracked down the adult Reimer and found that John Money’s sex reassignment of Reimer had failed. This case, which Dr. Diamond named that of “John/Joan” to protect Reimer’s privacy, has become one of the most cited cases in the literature of psychiatry, anthropology, women’s studies, child development, and biology of gender.
The major tragedy of the decision to raise David Reimer as a girl is that it was popularized as a success. This was unfortunately accepted by physicians as a model for how to deal with infants with intersex conditions. Dr. Diamond was the first to alert physicians that the model was faulty. He recommended that physicians (1) do no surgery on intersex infants without their informed consent; (2) assign such infants in the gender to which they will probably best adjust; (3) refrain from adding shame, stigma and secrecy to the issue, by assisting intersex people to meet and associate with others of like condition. Dr. Diamond encouraged considering the intersex condition as a difference of sex development, not as a disorder.
Early use of the term “transsexual:”
Early use of the term “transgender:”