There are many parallels between those with transgender feelings and those with “transabled” feelings. These are the feelings of people who desire to have a body part amputated to be able to feel themselves and feel at peace. Because of all the transgender issues in the media lately, the transabled phenomenon is getting more attention. Here are some recent articles about it that I thought were interesting, and as we read these articles and think about transabled people and their struggles, it can shed new light on our own struggles with gender, and give us some ideas to ponder.
“The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic. It’s a really, really strong desire.”
I find it interesting that the article says most of them are men (at least most of the people that have been interviewed about this), which we also know is the case with transgenderism. Why are so many of us men uncomfortable in our own bodies?
Yes, these people really exist and they have real pain and real struggles, just like those of us with gender dysphoria. But why is it okay to say that they these people need counseling rather than surgery, but we cannot say that about those with gender dysphoria? I think it is incredibly inconsistent. In my mind, they are both clear issues of people who are having difficulty accepting their bodies and themselves as who they are in reality.
As a Christian, I believe that we are more than just souls trapped in bodies. Our bodies are part of who we are! So a Christian cannot say, “I am truly such and such in my soul, but unfortunately trapped in this body that does not represent me.” Also, as a Christian, clearly a healthy body that works how it is supposed to is what God wants for us and what we should want for ourselves. For anyone to want to damage their body, whether through smoking, clogging our arteries, amputating our limbs, or going through transition surgeries, we are doing something that is not honoring to God and displeasing to him.
This article makes some very powerful points which I will paste below.
Transableism is classified as a mental disorder while transgenderism is not — The problem with this claim is that it’s simply not true. Body integrity disorder is not classified as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)—but gender dysphoria is. None of that really matters, though, since there is no objective standard for determining when body dysphoria should be construed as a mental disorder. Disorders in the DSM are literally whatever gets voted for inclusion by the American Psychiatric Association. Whatever one’s position on the issue, it can’t be resolved by an appeal to psychiatric consensus, even if one existed.
Genital reassignment surgery is an accepted medical practice while amputation for transableism is not — What constitutes an “accepted” practice? That depends almost entirely on a particular doctor or medical community. Many physicians would reject both as unacceptable. Yet both types of amputations of healthy organs have been performed.
The article also makes a link to anorexia which I think is important for all of us to consider. It’s much clearer to everyone that anorexia is damaging and deadly, much more damaging than gender dysphoria, at least to our physical health. But we need to grapple with the connections between anorexia and transgenderism. They are both a disconnect between one’s idea of himself or herself, and one’s body.
The article rightly criticizes Christians for being too tolerant and accepting of deviant practices like these.
No, I place the blame on those self-professed Christians who endorse these forms of self-harm and make self-mutilation a plausible and palatable “solution” for the vulnerable. They cloak their support in the language of “compassion” and “tolerance” while encouraging people to engage in grave evil.
If you felt an urge to surgically remove your sexual organs or induce vomiting until your ribs showed through your skin, would you assume it was the will of God? No, of course not—at least not if you are in a right state of mind. So why do we pretend that it is God’s will for other people to mutilate themselves?
This is another article explaining the hypocrisy in our culture right now, the inconsistency between the two issues.
We social conservatives have an annoying habit of pointing out where the radical individualism driving the same-sex marriage movement is taking society. People find it offensive when we tell them that the same logic they are using to justify SSM can and will be used to justify polygamy. Give it another generation. My guess is that transableism is just far too disgusting and weird ever to find mainstream legitimacy, but if you accept the logic of transgenderism — that people have a right to “be who they really are” — then it’s hard to see where you might find the solid ground to object to transableism. After all, they aren’t hurting anybody, are they?
This is an older article, but I found it while looking at other articles about transableism, and I felt it was extremely helpful. It’s almost a sermon. It talks about body modification in general, such as tatooing and piercing, and gets into what the Bible says about our bodies. There are so many good points I could not post them all. Just read the article. Later in the article, the author shows the connection between issues like sex/gender reassignment surgery, anorexia, and transableism. As old as the article is (14 years old), it’s quite prophetic about what our culture is going through now! The author talks a lot about body modification in general and its pagan roots.
Read this paragraph from the article, and it’s hard not to think how much this sounds like the kind of stuff transgendered and transabled people are saying today:
There’s even a group that calls itself the Church of Body Modification. It’s officially recognized by the government as a religion. It has no doctrine of a Creator God. Instead, it teaches that we create a world of our own choosing. The mission statement of the Church of Body Modification declares, “Each of us is wise in our reasons. Each of us is powerful in authority over ourselves. Our bodies are the physical structure, our temple; the encasement of our own very personal dreams and experiences, our beliefs and our hopes. We stand absolutely firm on our birthright of ownership of our individual bodies… Together now we share a New World of our own creation.”
More good points:
From an early age, most of us are not content with our body and would like to change it. If little children have blue eyes, they wish they had brown eyes. If they’re born with red hair, they wish it was black. Some boys wish they were girls, or vice versa. Some kids wish they’d been born of a different race or had a different name. This childish dissatisfaction with our own body was always considered something to grow out of and get over.
But nowadays, rather than growing beyond childish fantasies, adults indulge those fantasies. They get contacts lenses that change their eye color, dyes that change their hair color, tattoos that make them look more like a billboard than a human, piercings that make them look like their favorite famous pagans, plastic surgery to rearrange their face and shape. Men wear earrings as only women did a few years ago, women choose hairstyles and clothing to resemble men, cross—dressing pop stars are adored by millions, and some people get sex change operations to alter their gender entirely.
Part of mature wisdom is accepting the body God gave you, learning to live with it, and honoring God with it. But the spirit of rebellion says, “I am the master of my fate. I can modify my body as I see fit.“ Does this bring joy and freedom? No, it brings pain, slavery, chaos, and death. In the Bible God’s wisdom calls out and says, “Whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death“ (Proverbs 8:35—36).
As we can see, there are many similarities between transableism and transgenderism. In both cases you have someone who desperately feels that he needs surgery in order to alter his body to be himself and be happy. In both cases, people on the outside have great difficulty in understanding, and it looks like people are mutilating themselves, not setting themselves free. So why is our culture treating transgenderism differently? Why would we suggest counseling instead of surgery for those who say they are transabled, but we are fine with recommending surgery for those who say they are transgendered? What makes the issues different? They are both completely subjective based only on feelings. They both harmfully alter a healthy body. Both issues need psychological treatment not surgery.
The law issues are frightening to think about. Already doctors and medical institutions are being forced to perform gender surgeries and treatments for those with gender dysphoria. I do not see how, without being incredibly hypocritical and inconsistent, the laws will not also force doctors to give in to the whims of those who have transabled feelings.
All of this is very sad to me. Subjective identity has become a god in our culture. A god that goes against all reason and common sense. I get the shivers reading these articles. But these people need our compassion. All of us have issues. All of us need Jesus for forgiveness and healing so that we can be the people he intended us to be.