Money, John 1921-2006

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Money, John 1921-2006

(John William Money)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 8, 1921, in Morrinsville, New Zealand, died of complications from Parkinson's disease, July 7, 2006, in Towson, MD. Psychologist, educator, and author. Money, a Johns Hopkins University professor and researcher, did groundbreaking research on the issue of sexual self-identity. After earning an M.A. from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in 1943, and a diploma of honors the following year, he won a study grant at the University of Pittsburgh. He studied there for a year, then completed his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1952. By this time, he had already accepted a teaching post at Johns Hopkins University as an instructor. He became a full professor of medical psychology there in 1972 and retired as professor emeritus of pediatrics and medical psychology in 1986. At the time of his early research and writings in the 1950s, sexual ambivalence and androgyny were considered strange biological errors, and gender self-identification was considered to be completely linked to biology. Money, however, showed that gender identity was formed through a combination of genetics and environment, especially with regard to how parents raise their children. It was Money who developed the nomenclature that identified how people came to become aware of their sexual identity, coining terms such as "gender role" and "gender identity." Much of this early work was associated with his research on babies who were born androgynous, possessing the genitalia of both a male and a female. Doctors would assign a sex to such babies, instructing parents to raise their children as one gender or the other. Money conducted extensive studies on how this later affected patients' feelings about their sexual identity, which often indicated great psychological suffering. He consequently became one of the first psychologists to advocate surgery for such children in order for them to feel more comfortable with their assigned sex. Usually, this was much to the good; however, a 1966 case would later cause Money much grief. He advised the parents of a boy that he should be reassigned an identity as a girl because a doctor had ruined the child's penis after a failed circumcision. Raised as a woman, the patient still considered himself a man inside and suffered such trauma that in 2004 he committed suicide. Money received much criticism from his colleagues concerning this "John/Joan" case, but this admitted error was the exception rather than the rule. The psychologist has been credited with helping many other patients and was the author, along with Richard Green, of the important book Transexualism and Sex Reassignment(1969). As he would also discuss in later books and articles, Money felt that most psychological illnesses regarding sexual identity are caused or contributed to by society's sexually inhibited environment and punishments meted out by parents, rather than inherent biological problems within those who are homosexual, transsexual, bisexual, or have other gender identity issues. The recipient of numerous honors for his work, including from such organizations as the American Association for Sex Educators and Counselors, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Money continued to publish into the 1990s. Among his other books are Sex Errors of the Body: Dilemmas, Education and Counseling(1968), Love and Lovesickness: the Science of Sex, Gender Difference, and Pair-Bonding (1980),Principles of Developmental Sexology (1997), andUnspeakable Monsters in All Our Lives (1999). He also edited many scholarly texts and was on the editorial board of academic periodicals, including serving on the board of the journal Sexology for over twenty years.



Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2006, section 2, p. 10.

Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2006, p. B9.

New York Times, July 11, 2006, p. C14.