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Transableism: the next cultural abyss?

In recent times, it appears that the enemy has really increased his assault against the Imago Dei (the image of God). Although plenty of Christians have been shaking their heads of late as to the terrible trends in our society concerning abortion, sexual immorality, murder, drug abuse and transgender ideologies, there is a bizarre new trend which is now coming to the fore: transableism. In short, this is the belief that some people born in able bodies feel as if they were meant to have disabilities. Is this the next abyss that the enemy is leading people into?


The technical term for this behaviour is body integrity identity dysphoria. Although mainstream focus on this issue is only now garnering broad attention, it actually dates back to at least the 1990’s when a Scottish Surgeon, Dr Robert Smith, performed two above-the-knee amputations on two patients. When asked why he chose to go ahead when other doctors had refused, he said: “I became increasingly convinced that the patients had had very little success from their treatments by psychiatrists and psychologists over the years. These two patients had been fully assessed by two psychiatrists, one of whom has an interest in gender reassignment disorders, and also by a psychologist”. Dr Smith went on to say that all three (himself and the two patients) were convinced that surgery was “the only possible redress for this quite seriously disabling condition.” Furthermore, he made the claim that, “The one concern is that many of these individuals will in fact injure themselves. There are quite a lot of anecdotal reports, largely from the States, of people taking the law into their own hands, lying on a railway line or shooting their legs off with a shotgun.


Anthropologist scholar Jenny L. Davis was quick to point out that there are different levels of devotion to the cause. The term wannabe refers to those who want/need to have a physical impairment. Pretenders on the other hand, act out their impairment needs by, for example, folding an appendage, inserting ear plugs, wearing opaque contacts, walking on crutches, wheeling themselves in a chair or wearing neck/leg/back braces. Finally, there are the devotees. They experience fetishistic attractions toward the physically impaired bodies of others.


Although we might rightly be alarmed at this practice, many in the medical community argue that if a person can elect to have plastic surgery to supposedly (in their mind) improve their features, why can’t transabled people also elect to have plastic surgery to modify their body to the manner in which they perceive benefits them? According to some researchers, people who seek and achieve their desired amputations feel relief from their suffering – a relief that they are unable to get by other means. Really? There are no other means at all? Look at the statement of Jesus Himself in John 10:10. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. The answer is Jesus. He says so Himself!


As we have seen in the past, there is an agenda behind changing the “identifier” from a psychiatric condition (body integrity identity dysphoria) to an advocacy term (transableism). It revolves around harnessing the cultural power of victimhood in order to create a system where the medical and pharmaceutical complex simply must intervene in order to “save” these people. Is the Hippocratic Oath now out of vogue? Let’s introduce some principles that those who govern themselves by feelings never consider: subjectivity and objectivity. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons put it brilliantly when she said: Mutilating the body of another human being is an objective harm even if it makes the patient subjectively feel better. Therefore, even though they may argue otherwise, doctors are still causing harm by undertaking these surgeries. If not to the patient, then certainly to the society which is now burdened by having to fund lifelong disability aids and treatment as a result of the surgery performed. And what about disability benefits? Should those who have deliberately maimed themselves be entitled to claim support from the taxpayer?


One example of transableism involves Jørund Viktoria Alme of Oslo, Norway. Alme is a 53-year-old who began identifying as disabled five years ago. Alme uses a wheelchair despite not having a physical handicap. Appearing on “Good Morning Norway” Alme said it was a lifelong dream to be a woman paralysed from the waist down. Incidentally, Alme is also transgender.


In more extreme cases, transabled people take matters into their own hands and mutilate themselves. A North Carolina woman named Jewel Shuping blinded herself with drain cleaner at the age of 21. Born perfectly healthy, Shuping said she had always wanted to lose her eyesight. Recalling the incident, she said: “It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin. All I could think was, ‘I am going blind, it is going to be okay.’”


Some years ago, Canada’s National Post also reported a story as follows: “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.’


Now, to you and I, the information contained in this article may seem absurd. And, there was a time some years ago when almost all people would agree. As Christian blogger Amy Hall said back in 2015, “We can no longer appeal to absurdity in order to challenge our culture’s consistent conclusions, because in a world we create, nothing is inherently absurd.” Friends, this is why, more than ever, we need to be preaching God’s truth. This is certainly not a time for indulging these practices or even turning a blind eye to them. God is not glorified when people tear healthy limbs from their bodies or pour drain cleaner into their eyes or seek to live out a lie in some other way. In doing this, mankind promotes its own philosophy – one which is based on an attempt to conform to a distorted self-image that reflects the desire of the enemy to destroy the image and work of God in a person. It is our prayer that God would set them free through His gracious love.

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