Transabled: A neurological issue or a mental disorder?

Transabled people can turn to self-harm so they might be considered disabled. Photo / 123rf.
Transabled people can turn to self-harm so they might be considered disabled. Photo / 123rf.

Most disabled people have a tale to tell of how their disability came to be - whether they were born with it, endured an accident or survived a life-changing injury.

However, what you may not have expected is that there's a growing number of people who are choosing to be disabled.

These non-disabled people are calling themselves "transabled".

Likening their identity to that of transgendered people, the transable feel one or more limbs or functions of one's body do not belong to one's self.

According to Professor Alexandre Baril (a feminist, gender and sexuality studies professor and fellow), transability is "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".

Transabled people can turn to self-harm so they might be considered disabled. Photo / 123rf.
Transabled people can turn to self-harm so they might be considered disabled. Photo / 123rf.

The impairment can take the form of everything from paralysis to amputation. Hence why it is also known as Amputee Identity Disorder. The majority of BIID sufferers are white middle-aged males, although this discrepancy may not be nearly as large as previously thought.

In fact, transability falls directly under the Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) umbrella - psychological disorder that manifests in healthy people who have been known to physically harm themselves in order to be deemed disabled.

Science is somewhat divided on the source of the issue. Some experts argue that this is a neurological issue, while others identify it as more of a mental disorder.

37 transabled people were interviewed by Professor Clive Baldwin as part of study at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

According to the National Post, Baldwin's interviews found that such was the desire for disability that transable people have tried to 'create' accidents to make it a reality.

Perhaps the most known transabled person is Chloe Jennings-White.

Chloe Jennings-White wants to be permanently paralyzed. Photo / Facebook.
Chloe Jennings-White wants to be permanently paralyzed. Photo / Facebook.

Making waves in the media in 2013, Jennings-White has chosen to be wheelchair-bound despite having two perfectly working legs. According to her, she gains "psychological relief" from this lifestyle.

"Something in my brain tells me my legs are not supposed to work. Having any sensation in them just feels wrong," she told the Daily Mail.

In fact, she's admitted that her fantasy is to be involved in a devastating car crash where both her legs are hurt beyond repair.

Jennings-White is reported to have gone in search of a doctor who would sever the specific nerves that connect her legs to the rest of her body that would also take away any feeling in her thighs, shins and feet.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately in Jennings-White's case) the procedure proved to be too costly.

- NZ Herald

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