Thursday, May 12, 2016

What If You Become "Disabled" By Choice?

I belong to quite a few Facebook groups, and one issue of the day this morning was this article on people who become "disabled" by choice, along with the Facebook poster's claim that the issue bothered her because it seemed to mock transgender people.
This "disabled" person laughs, loves, succeeds, travels
and buys damn cool sunglasses in  Las Vegas.
(See the Las Vegas Blvd. sign in the background.)


First, let me summarize my responses. To understand better where I was coming from, pretty much everyone else in the group was calling transable people mentally ill, sick, in desperate need of help, etc. In other words, showing only one very grim side of a story and pretty much attacking. I felt like I needed to present a counterbalance.

My first reply: It is real. I have these sensations sometimes. I would avoid connecting it to transgender issues. One has nothing to do with the other.

Follow up here for this post: While I have nothing approaching transableism, a few times a  year, I will get the sensation that my leg or arm wants to go. It needs to go. It is probably just a very temporary brain or nerve glitch, but to live constantly like that??? (Like many transgender people do, in fact.)

Second reply: Actually, I do believe that some people who hack off a limb (or something like that) feel more safe and secure afterward (so it does enhance health and well being). So in that sense, it is not disabling yourself. It is getting rid of a growth that interfered with your mental health. Okay. Maybe there is a connection to trans issues; after all, someone could be argued to be disabling herself (given how women are treated in society) for going from male to female. The bottom line for me: who cares? Let people do what they want. In both cases, transgender and transableism, people should get some type of counseling, for sure.

Follow up here for this post: Counseling benefits ALL people, I believe. That said, I do know of some transgender people who say they don't need counseling, and I respect that 100 percent.

Third reply: P.S. As a person considered disabled by society (Deaf), I have seen what all Deaf people can do and what people with one arm or one leg, etc. can do. Dogs like that are just as happy. "Disabled" people are fully capable of leading full and healthy lives. It is a shame that many "normally abled" people have such narrow perspectives.

I am a Lambda Literary finalist. I run my own business. I worked as a newspaper page designer and copy editor, winning several Virginia state awards for my design. I am "disabled" only because society says I am.


Wikipedia explains more about this condition, called body integrity identity disorder. I'm sure like many people on that Facebook thread, you may have instant negative reactions. If you do, please wait a day at least before making any judgments.
I have turned off notifications for that post because I have no desire to get into arguments with people. Just wanted to present another side for people to think about. I fully support trans rights, and as a Deaf woman who also has fleeting transable sensations, I suppose I am in somewhat of an unique place.

I think if not for the word "transable" (which I had not heard of until today), no one would be connecting this with transgender issues. But the main point I want to make today... disability is not the death sentence many people think it is. Come on. Many people with "disabilities" live rich and full lives. It is society's reaction to them that handicaps them more than anything else. If you feel you need to become "disabled" in order to be whole, you have the potential for a free and happy life waiting for you.

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