Boy who was raised as a girl by parents forgave his mom on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

A mother who raised his son as a girl realizes the extent of her son's love and understanding when he forgives her despite the horrible things he went through as he was forced to assume a female identity. Find out the unique story of this family that ended in tragedy.

The tragic story of a boy raised as a girl by his parents sheds light on how you can never expect somebody to be who he’s not. Years ago, Oprah Winfrey featured the man with his mother who took extreme measures to raise him as a woman since he was a baby. Years after that interview where he forgave his mother, the man killed himself. 

Source: OWN on Youtube

Source: OWN on Youtube


Janet and Ronald Reimer welcomed their identical twins Bruce and Brian Reiner in 1965. Unfortunately, they were born with a condition called phimosis which required circumcision to be treated. However, after the surgery was first performed on Bruce, it didn’t achieve the expected results and instead of getting better, Bruce’s penis was badly burnt and was beyond repair. His twin, Brian didn’t undergo the operation anymore for fear it would also be a failure. Luckily for him, his phimosis corrected itself. 


Meanwhile, Bruce had bigger problems to face. With a dysfunctional penis, his parents sought the help of John Money, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins hospital who convinced them to have Bruce undergo a sexual reassignment surgery and raise him as a woman. He told them it would be the best option for Bruce. The Reimers made the agonizing decision to proceed with the surgery and that’s when Bruce’s life was never the same. 

Source: OWN on Youtube

Source: OWN on Youtube


After undergoing the surgery, Bruce, who now went by the name Brenda, saw Money on regular consultations to help him with his new sexual identity. At the time, Bruce had no idea he was previously a boy. He was only two years old. He was made to believe he was a girl and was even horribly made to perform sexual acts with his twin brother by Money to test if he responds as a female would. 


Until his teenage years, Bruce would urinate through a hole in his abdomen and he was injected with estrogen for breast development. But when Money required another surgery to assign him a vagina, that’s when his parents drew the line and discontinued consulting with the psychologist. 

Source: OWN on Youtube

Source: OWN on Youtube


Bruce was only 13 when he first developed suicidal tendencies. He threatened to end his life if he was made to see Money again. Two years later, his parents told him the truth about his past – that he was born a male. 


After learning this, Bruce reverted back to being a man and assumed a male identity. He changed his name to David and underwent surgeries to reconstruct his penis. He injected testosterone into his system to reverse the effects of the estrogen previously given to him.

Source: OWN on Youtube

Source: OWN on Youtube


Bruce managed to get married and adopt three children. However, after 14 years of marriage, in 2004, his wife left him. Two days later, Bruce took a bullet in his head. Ironically, his twin brother Brian, who suffered schizophrenia after Money’s experiments, died of an overdose of antidepressants two years earlier. 


Four years before Bruce’s death, he and his mother guested on Oprah. It was then that Bruce opened up about his feelings being forced to grow up as a woman. Bruce admitted he harbored no ill feelings towards his mother and understood that she did what she did out of compassion. 

“Things that were done were done out of compassion, out of love for your child. How can I hate my mother for that?” 

Watch the full interview below to understand the story behind Bruce’s tragic fate.


Meanwhile, another mother in Brazil had a different reason for raising her daughter as a boy. She decided that rearing her daughter as a boy would keep her safe from abuse. In fact, she even kept her daughter’s true sex from her daughter’s father. The mother didn’t want her to go through what she did growing up and felt the only way to protect her was by changing her name to Samuel, registering her as male on her birth certificate, and raising her as one. While many slammed her decision, many also think only a mother who’s lived her life in the torment of abuse would understand why she did what she did.

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