In the wake of Bruce Jenner’s gender-bending conversion and OSHA’s order that transgender people can use whatever bathroom they feel like in the workplace, comes the next great frontier in the battle to create more human rights than there are human beings on earth.
And this one’s a doozy.
They’re called “transabled.’ And like the transgendered who feel trapped in a body with the wrong sex organ, transabled people feel like imposters in their perfectly good bodies and have an overwhelming desire to chop off a limb, blind themselves, make themselves deaf, or otherwise disable themselves.
I frantically checked the internet to see if this was some kind of a hoax — but sadly, it is not as far as I can tell. For once in my career as a writer, I really, really hope that this is some kind of parody because if not, the world has gone mad and insanity has become the norm.
When he cut off his right arm with a “very sharp power tool,” a man who now calls himself One Hand Jason let everyone believe it was an accident.
But he had for months tried different means of cutting and crushing the limb that never quite felt like his own, training himself on first aid so he wouldn’t bleed to death, even practicing on animal parts sourced from a butcher.
“My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do,” he told the body modification website ModBlog.
His goal was to become disabled.
People like Jason have been classified as ‘‘transabled’’ — feeling like imposters in their bodies, their arms and legs in full working order.
“We define transability as the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment,” says Alexandre Baril, a Quebec born academic who will present on “transability” at this week’s Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa.
“The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic. It’s a really, really strong desire.”
Researchers in Canada are trying to better understand how transabled people think and feel. Clive Baldwin, a Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies who teaches social work at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., has interviewed 37 people worldwide who identify as transabled.
Most of them are men. About half are in Germany and Switzerland, but he knows of a few in Canada. Most crave an amputation or paralysis, though he has interviewed one person who wants his penis removed. Another wants to be blind.
Many people, like One Hand Jason, arrange “accidents” to help achieve the goal. One dropped an incredibly heavy concrete block on his legs — an attempt to injure himself so bad an amputation would be necessary. But doctors saved the leg. He limps, but it’s not the disability he wanted.
For an academic in social sciences, discovering new and exciting classes of the afflicted is the way to fame and fortune. My congratulations to Profs Baril and Baldwin for not only their creativity in discovering this previously unknown sub-sub group of fakirs and charlatans, but also their balls in publishing about it.
One can imagine agitation by activists to give people the right to disable themselves while making it illegal to discriminate against the transabled worker. A whole body of law will be created to deal with this new human right. The UN will create an agency to make sure the transabled are protected. And before too long, we’ll have the first celebrity transabled person televising their transformation from able bodied to disabled.