Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hymn of the Medical Oddity

The Weakerthans wrote a beautiful song about a Winnipeg man named David Reimer who sadly became the victim of a medical experiment in gender identity. 

Twin brothers David and Brian Reimer were born in Winnipeg in the 60’s, but during his circumcision, David’s penis was destroyed.  A leading doctor in gender studies at the time suggested they remove his testicles and raise David as Brenda.

The doctor only published evidence that supported his theory.

The "experiment" in nature vs. nurture became a disaster!

David never felt like a girl and as a teen when into a crisis, at which point his parents disclosed his true identity.  David began living as a boy from then but both he and his brother never quite recovered.

Brian died of an overdose of antidepressants at 36.

David committed suicide soon after at 38.

What a horrible moment in medical history.

What a beautiful song in his honor.

Oh, all the words I should not know those doctors wrote on me
Swell up and from their syllable won't let me get to sleep.
The sun will start later, clock out early
And I'll drive around and wait for it.
Follow familiar roads emptied of every memory
Under a sheet of silence and unmarked snow.

Then idle in some parking lot, smoke half a smoke and ask
St. Boniface and St. Vital preserve me from my past
Repair our potholes, prevent plant closures
and if they remember me at all, make them remember me
as more than a queer experiment, more than a diagram in their quarterly
Make them remember me

More on David's story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GhbVFjIaN0