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Transabled: Healthy People Who Want to Amputate Their Limbs. Really.

Do you know what a transabled person is? Are you guessing it’s the latest type of trans-person, an able-bodied one who identifies as having a disability?
Well, you’re close. First of all, it’s not some new fad. It’s been going on for decades (centuries, actually). Second, it’s not merely identifying as something one is not, it’s actually having surgery to achieve it.

As early as the 1990s, a Scottish surgeon amputated legs of two different patients, neither of whom had any medical reason for undergoing such a procedure.

To them, it was like getting a cosmetic nose job.

In fact, the condition, medically known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), was discovered in the 1700s, but it was, and remains, extremely rare. The movement to call it transableism, though, is rather new, and not unlike the efforts to abandon the term ‘illegal alien’ to describe PHIs (Persons Here Illegally) in favor of the factually and legally oxymoronic ‘undocumented immigrants’. Or to replace ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ with ‘pregnant person’ and ‘birthing person’, respectively.

Except this is worse. A pregnant person really is a woman, and a woman who gives birth is a mother. None of those four words/terms is a disorder. Yet we are dangerously reaching the point whereby nothing will be labeled a disorder anymore, as such label might be considered offensive.

It is absolutely wrong to hate people just because their behavior is different from our own. I wouldn’t hate a human being for having a desire to lose a limb anymore than I would hate someone for being blind. In either case, I would feel bad for them and would make a point to include them in my prayers.

Moreover, those with BIID are not faking in order to get attention and enjoy preferred seating, government benefits, and choice parking spaces. They are sincere about their beliefs, and it’s an affliction, not merely a matter of taste.

It must be horrible indeed to feel trapped in one’s own body and be obsessed and consumed with having elective surgery to sever one’s body parts, reproductive or not. But that is no reason for society to establish a mindset whereby anything goes and there are no such things as disorders any longer.

Google the term ‘transabled’ and you’ll be horrified as to how far it’s gone, and it’s not even close to being done.

There are hundreds if not thousands of other issues more troubling than transableism. After all, a man who wants to chop off his arm only hurts himself (and perhaps his loved ones); a violent criminal hurts countless innocent victims, and drugs kill Americans by the hundreds of thousands.

No, transableism isn’t the problem; it’s the symptom of a greater societal malady: a fixation of changing just about every word there is. Obese will become metabolically challenged; high cholesterol will be low density lipoprotein-compromise. A diabetic will be an insulin underproducer. Criminals will be called extralegal practitioners.

In fact, the number of BIID-afflicted persons throughout the world is estimated to be only several thousand. To put that in perspective, 1 percent of the world’s population is about 80 million. Nonetheless, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that someone, somewhere, will institute a Transabled Person Reading Hour at some elementary school.

What is the cause for this exercise of one-upping whatever the reigning societal anomaly is? Is it restlessness based on complacency? Have too many people turned against human civilization, the way voters develop fatigue regarding two-term presidents around their sixth or seventh year in the White House, and simply want to toss out millennia of behavior on its ear? Let’s just start wearing our shirts and our pants inside-out too. And wear watches on our wrists that keep bad time. Or maybe there’s already a disorder for wanting to wear a watch that keeps bad time. Except, then couldn’t call that a disorder, either. Maybe that’ll be termed a…transaccuracy?

I only found out about BIID very recently and I chose to make it the topic of this week’s column not because there aren’t a bunch of other things I’d be happier to write about, but because as a non-physician and non-psychologist, I wouldn’t have been exposed to articles about transableism if it wasn’t poised to become the new ‘drag queen’ phenomenon. And that’s the part that needs to be screamed from the rooftops, over and over again.

If it’s considered insensitive or some derivation of racist to seek to cure these sufferers of their mental anguish instead of catering to their desire to undergo elective amputation surgery, then we have all lost our collective minds.

Incidentally, the hospital where the Scottish surgeon worked asked him to stop performing elective amputation operations, but that doesn’t mean that procedure is universally banned.

It should be. Just as adults are criminally liable for engaging in mutually consensual sexual relations with minors because the latter are deemed to lack the capacity to consent, so should BIID individuals be categorized vis-à-vis consenting to elective amputation surgery.

I take comfort, though, because I view civilization as a thermostat. When the temperature gets too hot or too cold, a person finally becomes fed up, says “enough is enough!” and rises from the sofa to adjust it. Analogously, I’m optimistic that the day is coming when enough sane people muster the courage to say: “enough is enough – you’re all crazy.”

By crazy, I don’t mean those poor BIID sufferers; I mean those who enable their disorder by striving to normalize it.

Meanwhile, I will pray for those few thousand around the world with BIID to find inner peace and joy with the perfectly healthy and intact bodies they have.

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