As we travel pell-mell into a “transhuman” future, one where humans physically remake themselves at will, we are now being presented with “transabled” individuals. People who want to purposefully cut off their arms and/or legs, people who want to blind themselves, and people who otherwise covet becoming disabled in one form or another should be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, and the taxpayer should pay for it.
A Tuesday story in Canada’s National Post reveals the story of a man who cut off his own arm because “it never felt like his own.”
The article went on to describe people who wish to be called “transabled,” and who claim they should be able to make themselves disabled because they “feel like impostors in their bodies.”
“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,” academic Alexandre Baril told the Post. Baril is presenting a paper on “transability” at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa.
These “transabled” people wish to be given the same level of acceptance as those who wish to transition from one gender to another. But just as a debate still rages on whether or not insurance or even government assistance should be given to the “transgender” community, the next debate in the wings is whether taxpayers should be stuck footing the bill for people who want perfectly good arms, legs, eyes, or ears destroyed surgically to satisfy their “transabled” feelings.
Further, where does that leave government assistance to the legitimately disabled? Should someone who purposefully had their working leg(s) removed to satisfy their “transabled” mania be allowed to use handicapped parking? Should they get government assistance generally offered only for those disabled at birth or by health problems or accidents? Should they get special treatment in stores or public venues like disabled people often do?
The mental condition that causes the desire to maim oneself is dimly understood and only recently studied. The condition is being called Body Integrity Identity Disorder and is a condition that “transabled” people want to see legitimized as a serious condition that should be fully normalized just as transgenderism is today, not treated as a mental disorder.
This isn’t the only aspect of the “transhuman” movement, though. The transhuman movement seeks to explore the possibilities of merging humanity with machines by turning “normals” into “cyborgs” by replacing parts of the human body with machines that alter and/or improve the way the body works.
Bionic eyes, mechanical hearts, highly functioning prosthesis—all invented to help those born with disabilities or those who have suffered medical conditions or accidents—have already started to alter humanity, the transhumanists say. But some want to take it to the extremes. They want to mix animal genes with humans or add appendages, such as wings, to human bodies to make them into something post-human.
Like these “transabled” people, transhumanists see the gay rights and transgender movements as a first step toward their own realization of nomalizing the purposeful alteration of people’s bodies.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.