People Are Becoming Disabled By Choice And Labeling Themselves 'Transabled'

People Are Becoming Disabled By Choice And Labeling Themselves 'Transabled'

Similar to transgender people, the transabled feel one or more limbs or functions of one's body does not belong to one's self.

'Transabled' people are the ones who choose to be disabled. Similar to transgender people, the 'transabled' feel one or more limbs or functions of one's body do not belong to one's self. And some even go to such lengths that involve illegal surgeries to remove the undesired body part.  Professor Alexandre Baril, a feminist, gender, and sexuality studies professor and Fellow, defines 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."



Jewel Shuping, a 30-year-old, resident of North Carolina has BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder) and identifies herself as a transabled person. Otherwise healthy, Shuping decided to get rid of her eyesight as her wish to become a blind person took over her mind. In 2006 to fulfill this wish, a sympathetic psychologist poured drain cleaner into her eyes reported Daily Mail. Recalling how this idea of becoming blind infested her mind as a child she said, "My mother would find me walking in the halls at night when I was three or four years old. By the time I was six, I remember that thinking about being blind made me feel comfortable."



She also tried to blind herself as a child by staring at sunspots and solar for hours because her mother had warned her about its damaging effects. By the age of 20, she attained fluency in Braille and pretended to be blind. "I was 'blind-simming', which is pretending to be blind, but the idea kept coming up in my head and by the time I was 21 it was a non-stop alarm that was going off," she said. After learning about her decision to go blind her family decided to disown her but she was constantly supported by her former fiancé Mike. "When there's nobody around you who feels the same way, you start to think that you're crazy. But I don't think I'm crazy, I just have a disorder," she said.



This kind of self-inflicted impairment is also known as Amputee Identity Disorder as it could occur after a person has undergone amputation or has been paralyzed in the specific region. According to some reports, 'transability' falls under the Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) fragment. During this, the patient shows signs of a psychological condition in which they try to physically harm their healthy bodies in order to be deemed disabled. While some argue that it's strictly a neurological issue there are others who believe it's a mental disorder. Professor Clive Baldwin interviewed 37 transabled people as part of a study at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. After the interview, Baldwin deduced that the subjects had such a strong desire to be disabled that they tried to create an accident to fulfill their wishes.



Chloe Jennings-White, a Cambridge University-educated research scientist desperately wanted to have nothing to do with her legs and has tried to hurt herself on several occasions reported Daily Mail. When she learned about the steep price of this operation which could render her legs useless she said, "I might never be able to afford it, but I know, truly and deeply, I won't regret it if I ever can." According to reports, this research scientist believes that both of her legs don't belong to her body and cannot wait for her dream of being wheelchair bound into a reality. "Something in my brain tells me my legs are not supposed to work. Having any sensation in them just feels wrong," she said.



The Cambridge graduate shares that she was just four when she found out that she was different when she went to visit her Aunt Olivia who had leg braces due to a bike accident. "I wanted them too. I wondered why I wasn't born needing them and felt something was wrong with me because I didn't have them," she expressed. Since childhood, she performed many stunts to get rid of her legs, but they were dangerous enough to kill her. "Doing any activity that brings a chance of me becoming paraplegic gives me a sense of relief from the anxiety caused by the BIID," she said.



"My friends and family can get a little worried about me skiing, as they know I ski very aggressively and they know that in the back of my mind I actually want to get paralyzed," she added. In 2009 she suffered a 75mph car crash and could not remember anything 15 minutes prior to the impact. Police have ruled out the possibility of deliberate action but she worries that she might have subconsciously wanted this to happen. Now she spends most of the time on a wheelchair but gets up whenever she had to perform tasks like getting off the car. "Any time when I'm driving I sort of conjure up accident scenarios in my mind where I will become paraplegic," she confessed.

Obviously, not everyone can wrap their head around the concept of 'transabled' people and feel they are diverting the attention away from disabled folks, particularly disabled trans folks:










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